Some political campaigning can resume on 8th March

Like a lot of other things, almost all political campaigning has been suspended during lockdowns with the exception, obviously, of things like online campaigning and telephone canvassing.

There are a large number of elections coming up on Thursday 6th May - many of which have already been postponed for a year, and it would be bad for democracy to postpone them again or not to allow any campaigning. However as the government website with guidance on campaigning rules in England says,

"All those involved in the electoral process must also ensure that public health is protected. There is therefore a necessary balance to be struck in allowing campaigning activity and continuing to protect the NHS and save lives. It is essential that political campaigners continue to show social responsibility, and parties, agents and candidates ensure that their campaigners understand the rules."

All forms of doorstep campaigning are currently against the COVID rules and will remain so until 8th March.

However the government intends to ask parliament to relax the rules from 8th March to allow political campaigning subject to a number of changes.

  • The number of nominating signatures required to stand will temporarily be greatly reduced for this year's elections to reduce the difficulty of getting signatures in a COVID-secure way. For example, candidates for district and county council elections including by-elections (we have quite a few of those in Cumbria) will now only require two nominating signatures instead of ten.
  • Appropriate PPE such as masks must be worn
  • Campaigning teams must not meet indoors
  • Canvassers must not enter a private home. They may speak to people on their doorstep while maintaining a safe distance of two metres.
  • The number of campaigners operating together should be kept to an absolute minimum and a minimum 2 metres distance should be maintained between them at all times.

Subject to these restrictions canvassing and leaflet delivery can resume on 8th May, as a tweet from the Conservative party chairman Amanda Milling put it:

The page with government guidance referenced in that tweet can be found here.



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