Renewed calls for May elections to be postponed

09/02/2021

In a paper published on 8 February 2021, the not-for-profit consultancy, the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny (CFGS) says that the local elections in England, scheduled for 6 May should be postponed until the autumn. 

The CFGS gives the following reasons for calling for a postponement:

  • Delivering a universally Covid-safe poll (and count) will be extremely challenging even if restrictions have been significantly relaxed by May.
  • The pandemic could continue to develop in an unpredictable way in the next three months.
  • Notwithstanding difficulties with the administration of the election, the ban on in-person canvassing will make it extremely difficult for candidates to campaign effectively.  
  • A further postponement of elections - to Autumn 2021 - would be a serious matter, but the risks are sufficient to justify it.
  • Councils are working hard to deliver elections in a Covid-secure manner but doing so will be a significant challenge.  The ability of candidates to campaign effectively will be negatively impacted by this, with some parties affected more than others because of their usual mode of campaigning.
  • Even though Government has confirmed that elections will go ahead, uncertainty remains, because the uncertainty in the development of the pandemic risks a reversal of this decision, as we have seen elsewhere.

The CFGS also believes that powers to convene formal meetings remotely should remain permanent.  

The full statement can be downloaded as a PDF file from the CFGS website.  The link to the relevant page is below: