May 2020 Local Elections cancelled due to coronavirus outbreak

PUBLISHED: 16:15 13 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:31 13 March 2020

The local elections set for May this year will now be postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: Paul Christian

The local elections set for May this year will now be postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: Paul Christian

Archant

The government has cancelled local and mayoral elections set for May 2020, following a recommendation from the Electoral Commission in the midst of the coronaviruus outbreak.

A number of local councillors had called for the decision, which was confirmed this afternoon.

The Electoral Commission recommended postpoining the elections until the autumn, however the government took the decision to move the elections to 2021.

Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor said shortly before the news broke: 'Following advice from UK Labour very pleased that Stevenage Labour is cancelling all campaigning activity and meetings with immediate effect.

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'It is crucial to do all we can to protect our community, members and activists and that councillors and candidates focus on helping where we can.

'The Labour Party has also written to the government to ask that the local elections be postponed, it is not right that our staff have this extra burden while they are dealing with COVID-19.'

Welwyn Hatfield's Labour party leader Councillor Kieran Thorpe said: 'It is absolutely the right decision to postpone these elections.

'The prospect of volunteers spending the next two months going door to door and delivering material to the entire borough would have been the perfect way to spread the coronavirus, and thats without considering placing the public and council staff alike in schools and community halls on election day itself.

'I have serious concerns at how the government didn't immediately make this decision without first deciding to ignore the advice from the Electoral Commission.'

The Electoral Commission said in its letter to the UK government yesterday that there are 'real risks' to holding the poll on May 7, and it urged the government to take a decision on whether or not to go ahead with the local elections.

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