Photo of Coventry City House
Image: DeFacto/Wikimedia Commons

Warwick students run for local elections following new voter ID laws being introduced 

The 2023 local elections in England produced disappointing results for the Conservative Party, whilst Labour, the Greens, and the Liberal Democrats gained substantially. 

The Conservatives lost more than 1,000 seats: an outcome that Conservative Party Leader and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described as “disappointing”.  

He added: “In many areas, it was not because of Conservative switching to another party, it was voters staying at home, and when this happened in the past with European elections, it didn’t reflect in a general election.” 

Running as a student was a very unique experience.

–Anonymous Student

Labour, meanwhile, gained more than 500 councillors across the country, and is now the largest party in local government.  Labour Leader Keir Starmer claimed that this places the party “on course for a … majority at the next general election”. 

For students at the University of Warwick, who primarily reside within Warwick District Council and Coventry City Council, results were varied in their significance. Several students ran for election, including one that did so for a Councillor position in a Leamington ward. In a statement to The Boar, the anonymous student said: 

“Running as a student was a very unique experience. When someone thinks of Tory council candidate they think of an old village elder who knows everyone’s names and who has a story about everything. 

“So when a member of the public opened the door and saw someone who wasn’t a 70 year old man they were automatically more enthusiastic with the efforts. It was an absolutely wonderful experience and I’d definitely do it again!” 

New voter ID laws were controversial among many, including both the Conservatives and Labour. Labour MP for Leeds East, Richard Burgon, called the new voter ID laws a “draconian, authoritarian attack” on youth and ethnic minority voters prior to the elections, while in the aftermath of the election, senior Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg added: “Parties that try and gerrymander end up finding their clever scheme comes back to bite them as dare I say we found by insisting on voter ID for elections.” 

In Warwick District, which encompasses Leamington Spa, Kenilworth, and a range of other towns and villages, the Conservatives suffered heavy losses, losing 13 councillors. With there being 44 seats on the Council in total, no party wields a majority, with the Greens becoming the new largest party with 14 seats in total. 

These results reflect a highly contested election in the district, where all 44 seats were up for grabs in this year’s contest.  

Coventry City Council saw a much less dramatic election night, with only a single seat switching hands from Labour to the Green Party. Labour retains a significant majority on the council, possessing 35 councillors out of the 54 total on the Council.  

Only a third of Coventry’s seats were up for grabs in this year’s contest. This likely reflects the Labour party’s historic significance in the West Midlands and Warwickshire region. 


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