The London Mayor 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 yesterday revealed 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. She 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.”
A London Labour Party source told On London yesterday that as Boris Johnson has promised that the most vulnerable people will be vaccinated against Covid-19 by mid-February, “There is no legitimate reason to consider postponing the elections in May.”
The source said it would be “a damning indictment of the UK government’s handling of the pandemic” if the elections for Mayor and London Assembly Members did not go ahead, given that elections in other parts of the world, including for US president, have been held, and added: “We sincerely hope that the government will not attempt to seek party political advantage by changing the timing of these elections”.
Additional reporting by Dave Hill.
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