The Conservatives look set to lose power in Darlington at local elections this week, pollsters have said.

Voters will head to the polls across the Tees Valley and up and down England on Thursday (May 4) to elect local councillors and mayors.

Both of the main parties are hoping to prove themselves with voters in Darlington, as the Conservatives look to strengthen their position in the council, take control, and put a turbulent two years nationally behind them, while Labour look to show they are rebuilding the red wall following crippling losses in 2019.

Read more: Darlington's future on the line as parties battle for power at local elections

Now polling from YouGov has suggested Darlington Council could fall out of Tory hands, with the polling firm predicting “significant Labour gains”.

It also predicts the overall result is "leaning" towards Labour.

A win in Darlington for Labour would mark a significant step towards recovering from 2019 when it lost nine seats and control of the council, while the Tories gained five to become the largest party with 22 seats.

In 2019 the Conservatives scooped 41% of the vote, but YouGov’s predictions suggest this could fall to just 29%.

Meanwhile Labour looks set to increase its vote share from 33% to 44%, according to the poll published on Friday (April 28) and carried out in the seven days previous.

Read more: Darlington local elections 2023: Full list of candidates standing​

Conservatives hope Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s regular visits to the town - at the Indoor Market, Treasury campus or at a community centre - will boost their campaign and is proof of levelling up. Mr Sunak recently visited Firthmoor as part of the Tories campaign ahead of the local elections and focused on his party’s ambition to fix ailing roads, as he was photographed pointing at a pothole and standing at a bus stop alongside local Tory members - two key issues which all parties have identified that need improving.

The Northern Echo: Darlington Council Leader Jonathan DulstonDarlington Council Leader Jonathan Dulston (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

Current Council Leader Jonathan Dulston said his party’s 22 members has helped shake up the council and has allowed it to take a different approach to other leaderships, with newer and fresher faces entering local politics.

To get more stories direct to your email basket go here 

“Our ambition is to get full control of the council because that will unlock even more potential for what we want to do and where we want to take Darlington,” he said.

Meanwhile, Labour insists it has ‘changed for the better’ after being voted out in 2019, ending its 22 years in control. Its campaign was boosted by a visit from Deputy Leader Angela Rayner on the doorstep earlier this month, as they hope to improve the lives of every resident, which the party says have been neglected by the current administration.

Read next:

Get more from The Northern Echo with a Premium Plus digital subscription from as little as only £1.50 a week. Click here

Members have criticised a lack of progress or improvement and aims to improve livelihoods throughout the town by providing: help with the cost-of-living crisis; a healthier and greener Darlington; safer communities; better transport for all; and a better-run council.

The Northern Echo: Darlington Council Labour Group Leader Stephen HarkerDarlington Council Labour Group Leader Stephen Harker (Image: STUART BOULTON)

“Labour has changed for the better and we’re ready to make Darlington better than ever before,” leader Stephen Harker said. “Our drive and determination is to make sure we provide opportunities for everybody wherever they’re from and whatever they do.”

Voters will head to the polls on Thursday from 7am til 10pm will results set to be announced on Friday May 5.