Government has no plans to cancel vote despite public health issues
Candidates clockwise: Sian Berry (Green), Count Binface, Louisa Pollitt (Liberal Democrat), Sadiq Khan (Labour) and Shaun Bailey (Conservative)
The London Mayoral Election will be going ahead in May despite Covid-19 restrictions, the Cabinet Office has confirmed.
The election was originally scheduled for May 2020 but had to be postponed due to restrictions at the time, however there are no current plans to push it back again.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson said, “Legislation provides that the elections will go ahead in May 2021.
“We continue to work closely with the electoral community and public health bodies to resolve challenges and ensure everyone will be able to cast their vote safely and securely – and in a way of their choosing.
“Measures are planned to support absent voting at short notice. Guidance will be published in good time ahead of the polls and this matter will be kept under review.”
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove revealed this Tuesday (6 January) that current lockdown measures could be in place until March, but there is a chance some restrictions may still be in place by the time of May’s election.
There are currently no plans to impose an all-postal vote due to concerns over fraud risks.
Chloe Smith MP, Minister for the Constitution and Devolution, wrote to electoral officials in September to outline the Government’s position on how this year’s elections should proceed.
The Minister wrote, “It is my view that, following this analysis work with partners and based on the information currently available, polls can be delivered safely and securely, and the risk of transmission substantially reduced, if Covid-19 secure guidelines are followed closely.
“I believe there is no necessity for significant changes such as imposing an all-postal vote or changing polling days or times (which would require primary legislation). The UK Government remains of the view that all-postal voting increases fraud risks, and removes choice from voters who wish to cast their vote in person.”
Advice will be given on how to ensure polling stations remain Covid-secure and support will be in place for those who need to self-isolate at the time of the election.
Joe Talora - Local Democracy Reporter
January 6, 2021