Last March, elections that were due to take place in England at the beginning of May were postponed until Thursday, 6 May this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

With election season fast approaching, we encourage you to get ready to have your say, as voting enables us to influence the important issues that affect us and those in our communities – from housing and policing to transport and the arts. 

Here’s an overview of the upcoming elections in England and the areas of public life that your vote would influence. (For the elections that are taking place in your area and a list of the candidates, click here.)


Mayor of London and London Assembly elections

The buzz around the Mayor of London election quickly died down as news of coronavirus dominated the headlines last year. The vote for Mayor of London, which has been one of the most high-profile roles in politics in recent years, will now take place on Thursday, 6 May. 

The mayor creates plans policies for the capital, covering transport, policing, fire services and housing. This includes Transport for London fares, appointing the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and providing affordable housing. The mayor is also responsible for strategies to develop and champion British art, innovation and culture. 

The London Assembly elections will assign 25 members to assess decisions made by the mayor. Londoners have two votes for who they want to represent them in the London Assembly, one for your constituency and another for a member to represent London. The London Assembly is designed to ensure the mayor’s policies are in the public’s best interest. 

Local council elections

Local councils determine the priorities and plans for where you live and are likely to be more attuned to the concerns of their area. 

Depending on your area, there may be a single local authority or a two-tier system of councils. Some areas have one council that provides all the services and facilities while others may be split between county and district councils. 

County councils are often responsible for schools, libraries and roads, while district councils tend to be responsible for council tax, housing services and electoral registration. There are also elections for town, parish and community councils, but these do not usually run along party political lines. 

The first-past-the-post system is used for local elections in England, where candidates with the most votes win. There is one vote for each seat available (some large areas have multiple seats). People vote according to the number of seats available in their local councils; for example, if there are two seats, then constituents can vote for two candidates. 

Due to the resignation of Mike Hill MP, there will also be a by-election on 6 May for the parliamentary constituency of Hartlepool. 

Local and Combined Authority Mayoral elections

There will be mayoral elections for a number of places and regions in England, including: Bristol, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Doncaster, Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Liverpool City Region, North Tyneside, Salford, Tees Valley, West Midlands, West of England, and West Yorkshire. 

Not all mayors in England are the same and have the same responsibilities and authority. Local authorities have historically had an appointed mayor whose role is largely ceremonial, but some areas now have directly elected mayors that provide overall leadership for the area. In some places the directly elected mayor leads the local council in one area while combined authority mayors lead a group of local councils that work together. 

Local and Combined Authority Mayoral elections use the supplementary vote system, where voters are given a first and second choice for their preferred candidates (the second choice does not need to be used). A candidate is elected if more than 50 per cent of voters put them down as their first preference. If there’s no clear winner, the two candidates with the most votes remain and second preference votes are considered. Whoever has the most votes out of the two wins the election. 

Police and Crime Commissioner elections

The police and crime commissioners (PCC) set the agenda and budget for their area, which includes how the area is policed, council tax for the police and the policing information the area receives. This year’s PCC elections are perhaps particularly important in light of recent discussions around violence against women, protests and the role of the police. 

Similar to the local and combined authority mayoral elections, these elections will use the supplementary vote system. 

Are you registered to vote?

If you are not registered to vote and you would like to have your say in any of these elections, register to vote here by Monday, 19 April.

As we prayerfully consider how we might use our vote in the upcoming elections, let’s remember to think about those in our communities whose voices often go unheard. May we also remember to hold up our political leaders in prayer, giving thanks for them and praying that those in positions of authority will develop plans and policies that bring about positive change.

On 6 May, there are also elections to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Parliament.