Manchester

Greater Manchester's election battlegrounds

Manchester
Image caption All 96 councillors in Manchester are currently Labour

There are 10 council elections on Thursday across Greater Manchester, with seats up for grabs in two cities and eight towns across the conurbation.

In each election, one-third of the seats will be contested while in Salford, voters will also be asked to elect a city mayor.

Labour traditionally dominates Greater Manchester, and currently controls eight of the 10 councils with elections this year.

In Manchester, all 96 councillors are Labour and in Tameside, Wigan and Salford, they have near enough all of them too.

The Corbyn effect

Their other councils look pretty secure as well but it will be interesting to see how much the party's grip strengthens under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

It will be a challenge to make significant further gains because, four years ago when these particular council seats were last up for grabs, Labour did well.

It is fair to say 2012 was a bad year for the Conservatives following the the "pasty tax" Budget, while the Lib Dems were suffering as a result of being in coalition with the Tories.

One true splash of blue on the electoral map, however, is Trafford and the Tories are keen to tighten their hold.

Image caption Labour traditionally dominates Greater Manchester, and currently controls eight of the 10 councils with elections this year

The Conservatives are also intent on making inroads at the other end of the Metrolink line. Bury is currently run by Labour, and the Conservatives are pinning their hopes on voters there not thinking much of Mr Corbyn's leadership.

Labour have been campaigning hard in both Trafford and Bury, and the outcomes will be fascinating.

Stockport will be interesting too because while the Liberal Democrats are in charge they do not enjoy overall control.

At the moment they're the biggest party over Labour by just five councillors so there is the potential for a change of control.

Image caption Labour's Ian Stewart, who is stepping down as Salford's mayor, was MP for Eccles before taking on the role in 2012

The Lib Dems are also targeting gains in Rochdale, where they ran the council until only a few years ago. They are hoping to benefit from the recent controversies surrounding local Labour MP Simon Danczuk.

Elsewhere, UK Independence Party campaigners in Wigan are talking up their chances and hoping to get a bounce from the EU referendum.

It appears Bolton and Oldham, where they already have councillors, are the places where they're most likely to make gains, though.

After years of growing their support base in Manchester, the Greens are believing this could be their time to bring an end to Labour's total dominance.

Come Friday, Salford will also have a new city mayor as Labour incumbent Ian Stewart steps down.

Labour took more than half the vote four years ago, and its candidate Paul Dennett will hope to take on the role come 6 May. He is up against Robin Garrido for the Conservatives, UKIP's Owen Hammond and Wendy Olsen for the Greens.

Image caption Elections in 124 local authorities in England will take place on 5 May