What will the local and European elections tell us about where the country stands on Brexit?

Brexit Explained: The polls will give voters the chance to do more than simply decide who collects their bins

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Can Brexit be reversed?

There are local elections in England, outside London, and in Northern Ireland on 2 May, as well as European parliament elections in the whole of the UK three weeks later. Together, they will give the nation the chance to say who should collect their bins and who should scrutinise EU law. And also to express its view on what is happening to Brexit.

A few predictions can be made with some certainty. First, that the Conservatives will do very badly. The standing of national parties always affects voting in local elections, so Tory councillors will suffer from the drop in support for Theresa May’s government. But at least they have some chance of campaigning on their local record – and it is worth remembering that most people are broadly satisfied with the services provided by their local council. The last time these seats were contested, in 2015, the Tories were six points ahead of Labour in vote share, according to figures from David Cowling; this time they will be lucky to be only six points behind.

In the European elections, on the other hand, there seems little to stop the Tory vote from collapsing altogether. These are elections that the prime minister repeatedly said would not be held because the UK would have left the EU by then. She still hopes they can be cancelled but this seems unlikely.

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