Wakefield local council election 2021: who are the candidates standing in my area and who should I vote for?
The election is just around the corner, and candidates across Wakefield and the Five Towns are making one final push for votes before the polls open. This is everything you need to know about the local elections in Wakefield, Pontefract and Castleford - and who is standing in your neighbourhood.
The local elections take place across England and Wales on Thursday, May 6.
But how do the elections work and why is your vote important? Here's a quick explainer with answers to some of the big questions.
What is the political makeup of Wakefield Council?
The Wakefield district is divided into 21 geographical zones, or wards. Each ward has three councillors representing it. They sit on Wakefield Council and lobby on your behalf, raising local issues affecting their constituents.
The council has 63 seats in total and whichever party has control of more than half of them runs the local authority.
As the current ruling party Labour holds 47 of those seats, the Conservatives have 11, the Liberal Democrats have one and another is held by an independent councillor with no party political connections.
The remaining three seats are currently vacant.
What and who am I voting for this year?
Only a third of the council's seats are generally contested at any one time.
This year, voters are deciding on 22 of the council's 63 seats. That's one in each ward, apart from Airedale and Ferry Fryston where voters will be asked to elect two councillors and so the main parties standing there have put up two candidates each.
You can see a full list of the candidates standing in your area below.
Councillors who are elected this year will hold their seat for three years until 2024, with the exception of one candidate in ward 2, who will fill the vacant seat for two years.
What are the main issues?
Voting in the local elections gives you the chance to influence how local services are run and how the council spends your money on things like schools, roads, social care for the elderly, libraries, leisure centres and bin rounds, to name but a few.
To be clear, and sorry if this is stating the obvious, but it's not a General Election and you are not voting for your local MP.
Are any other elections taking place on the same day?
Yes, this year's polls are being combined with the elections held for the first ever West Yorkshire mayor, who will have devolved regional powers over things like transport and job creation.
Whoever the new mayor is, they will also be taking on the duties previously held by West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, with the two offices being merged.
Meanwhile in Hemsworth, Walton and Upton, voters will also be electing representatives to serve on their town and parish councils.
Click here to find out who's standing to be West Yorkshire metro mayor.
Who is standing in my area?
The names of all the candidates standing for election in Wakefield were released earlier this month.
You can view the full list below, and find out which ward you live in on the Wakefield Council website.
One seat is being contested in each ward, unless otherwise stated.
Ackworth, North Elmsall and Upton - Ward 1
Stan Bates - LabourChristopher Dawson - Yorkshire Party
Jody Gabriel - Green PartyChristopher Howden - Liberal Democrats
Gwen Marshall - Independent
Raymond Massey - ConservativeAiredale and Ferry Fryston - Ward 2 (two candidates to be elected)
Richard Evans - Conservative
Jackie Ferguson - Labour
John Ingham - Green Party
Ian Kennedy - Independent
Neil Kennedy - Independent
Eamonn Mullins - Conservative
Daniel Russell - Green Party
Les Shaw - Labour
Altofts and Whitwood - Ward 3
Brenden Beckett - Green Party
Zane Carpenter - Workers Party of BritainJosie Farrar - Labour
Anthony Hill - Conservative
John Thomas - Reform UKCastleford Central and Glasshoughton - Ward 4
Richard Forster - Labour
Alan Horne - Green Party
Paul Phelps - Yorkshire Party
Joanne Smart - Conservative
Crofton, Ryhill and Walton - Ward 5
Cynthia Dickinson - Green Party
Faith Heptinstall - Labour
Paul Stockhill - Conservative
Featherstone - Ward 6
James Craven - Yorkshire Party
Nigel Ebbs - Liberal Democrats
Ruth Love - Green Party
Ayrton Pointon - Conservative
Maureen Tennant-King - Labour
Hemsworth - Ward 7
Waj Ali - Reform UK
Jim Kenyon - IndependentPauline Kitching - Labour
Lyn Morton - Green Party
David Pointon - Conservative
Horbury and South Ossett - Ward 8
Jonathan Allum - Conservative
Darren Byford - Labour
Mark Goodair - Liberal Democrats
Ricard Hargreaves - Green Party
Knottingley - Ward 9
Kerron Cross - Labour
Adele Hayes - Liberal Democrats
Garry Newby - Green Party
Hilary Plumbley - Conservative
Normanton - Ward 10
Gillian Dewey-Nager - Green Party
Susan Hayes - Liberal Democrats
Keith Hudson - Conservative Party
Julie Medford - Labour
Cliff Parsons - Alliance for Democracy and Freedom Wakefield
Marcus Whalley-Reid - Workers Party of Britain
Ossett - Ward 11
Tony Homewood - Conservative
Lynn Masterman - Labour
Malcolm Pollack - Liberal Democrats
Stephen Scott - Green Party
Pontefract North - Ward 12
Christopher Hyomes - Conservative
Ryan Kett - Yorkshire Party
Lorna Malkin - Labour
Emma Tingle - Green Party
Pontefract South - Ward 13
Katherine Dodd - Green Party
Tony Hames - Conservative
Melanie Jones - Labour
Trevor Peasant - Yorkshire Party
South Elmsall and South Kirkby - Ward 14
Michelle Collins - Labour
Stefan Ludewig - Green Party
Sarah Mansfield - Yorkshire Party
Chad Thomas - Conservative
Stanley and Outwood East - Ward 15
Richard Copeland - Green Party
Margaret Dodd - Liberal Democrats
Stephanie Fishwick - Conservative
Brent Hawksley - Yorkshire Party
Matthew Morley - Labour
Wakefield East - Ward 16
Akef Akbar - Conservative
Helen Antcliff - Labour
Mick Griffiths - Trade Union and Socialist CoalitionJanet Mackintosh - Green Party
Wakefield North - Ward 17
Lewis Elliott - Green Party
Naeem Formuli - Conservative
Andy Mack - Yorkshire Party
Rebecca Murphy - Independent
Elizabeth Rhodes - Labour
Keith Wells - UKIPWakefield Rural - Ward 18
Cynthia Binns - Conservative
Charlotte Myles - Green Party
Paul Wood - Labour
Wakefield South - Ward 19
Paul Belbin - Labour
Daniel Cochran - Yorkshire Party
Krys Holmes - Green Party
Richard Hunt - Conservative
Wakefield West - Ward 20
Hilary Mitchell - Labour
Karen Sadler - Green Party
Josie Thornton - For Britain Movement
Laura Weldon - Conservative
Wrenthorpe and Outwood West - Ward 21
Richard Bentley - Yorkshire Party
David Dews - UKIP
Annemarie Glover - Conservative
Martyn Johnson - Labour
Oliver Thompson - Green Party
Local Democracy Reporting Service