Local elections are coming up in England. When I look up Wokingham Borough local election results, it lists results from 2015, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, and 2002. That seems very often. How often are local elections and what duration are local politicians elected for?


1 Answer 1


Councillors in the UK have four year terms. However, those terms don't necessarily all start at the same time.

For some councils (like the one in the question), one third of the seats are elected at a time, with there being elections in May in three years out of every four.

Some councils are elected in halves, with elections for half the seats every 2 years.

And finally, some councils are elected all at once, with a single election for all seats every four years.

The list of local elections for 2016 shows examples of all three systems.

(As for why there is this mix of systems: I think that would be a very good question in itself! There doesn't appear to be much of a pattern.)

  • How is the major elected? If he is elected by the council it seems that it would lead to a bit of instability (each year with a different council composition)
    – SJuan76
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 9:44
  • That's a whole question in itself, but briefly: the head of most councils is the leader of the council (the mayor is a ceremonial post in those areas), who is likely to be the leader of the largest party present - and yes, it's possible for that to change with each election. For the few places with directly elected (executive) mayors, they are elected every four years. Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 9:51

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