Government permits delivery and canvassing in England from 8th March

Mike Tuffrey campaigning in PutneyWith the biggest set of local and national elections across the UK coming up on 6th May, the UK Government has finally issued guidance which will enable activists in England to deliver leaflets and canvass, subject to some restrictions, from a week on Monday, 8th March.

From 8 March, therefore, people who are campaigning in support of the electoral success (or against the electoral success) of candidates or political parties, or relating to a referendum outcome, will be allowed to deliver leaflets and canvass electors in relation to the elections and local referendums taking place on 6 May and for any further by-elections and local referendums being held for as long as COVID-19 related restrictions remain in place. 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.

Campaigners should not enter a private home. Campaigners may speak to electors on their doorsteps, maintaining at least 2 metres distance at all times.

Campaigners should only enter premises, such as a shared hallway in a block of flats, where absolutely necessary to reach individual homes served by communal areas. Unless it is unsafe to do so, canvassing from within shared internal areas should be carried out by a single campaigner.

At all times, campaigners should ensure that all necessary mitigations are applied including the wearing of face coverings, keeping socially distanced at 2 metres, and sanitising hands between visiting different households. All campaigners should follow the guidance on how to stop the spread of coronavirus at all times.

You should not meet with other campaigners indoors. It is safer to meet outdoors, where the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19 is much lower, but 2 metre social distancing should still be maintained. Operational collection and delivery of campaign literature should be handled on a click and drop or doorstep drop procedure as for other goods deliveries during the pandemic. Only rarely will two people be required indoors at the same location to manage bulk delivery handling. You should keep these interactions to a minimum to reduce contact and follow the guidance on how to stop the spread of coronavirus at all times.

All hustings, and campaign planning meetings must take place remotely.

As Lib Dem campaigners, we are bound by the party’s guidance. We would be very surprised if it was not updated accordingly within the next few days.

There are more changes from 29th March:

From 29 March, the provision for six people or two households to meet outdoors may support organisational work by campaigners and the holding of meetings outdoors. At this stage, there will be no change to the rules on meeting others indoors. This means that the rules on doorstep campaigning will not change.

All campaigning activity will need to follow the relevant rules on gatherings and social distancing. If it is necessary to meet electors, campaigners should continue to do so outdoors, for example on the doorstep, and should not enter people’s homes.

And in news which will delight Lib Dem polling day organisers everywhere, if committee rooms are allowed on 6th May, there will be no hanging around in them:

Any such activity should be functional and not social. For example, a campaigner would only enter inside the building to meet the committee room organiser in order to collect election literature or drop off telling slips.

It is against the law to meet socially indoors with anyone not in your household or support bubble.

Guidance from the devolved Governments is expected to be issued within the coming week and we’ll have details of that when we have it.

Telling will be allowed on polling day but:

Therefore tellers must be sensitive to this issue and must remain 2 metres apart from anyone not in their household or support bubble when seeking any information from people going into or coming out from a polling place.

Do send us in your appropriately socially distanced campaign photographs when you have them.

 

 

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18 Comments

  • Brad Barrows 27th Feb '21 - 8:44am

    This will not play well with voters who may object to canvassers turning up at their doors during a pandemic. Far smarter, and safer, to use telephone canvassing only.

  • John Marriott 27th Feb '21 - 9:32am

    Now that will clearly please a lot of activists. However, Mr Barrows makes a good point. By the way, what is a ‘canvasser’? Around where I live, they appear to have been extinct for years, or at least since I and my group stopped doing it when we needed all our energies for delivering leaflets, as we weren’t getting any younger.

    As for ‘tellers’, around here nobody has been doing that for years. No wonder the Tories have a virtual monopoly again!

  • Get out that clipboard, John!
    (or probably nowadays mobile phone)

  • It’s not rare for more than two deliverers to have to deliver together indoors! I give up!

  • John Marriott 27th Feb '21 - 11:14am

    @Michael1
    So, that’s what you’ll be doing then? Good luck. It will be about as much use around as shouting at County Hall!

  • Is there not a contradiction in human rights terms by opposing identity cards and ‘vaccine certificates’ – but making unsolicited (nuisance ?) telephone calls or knocking on a stranger’s door to enquire about their political views ?

    Is it not a case of, “not me, Sir, It’s a big boy wot dunnit’.

  • @John Marriott

    No I’ll be throwing stones 🙂 !

    (Probably at residents – a vote winner – don’t you think?!)

    I appreciate that you have been there, done there, got the t-shirt and I haven’t been active myself unfortunately for the last five years for a variety of personal reasons.

    But do remember changing minds, getting supporters, voters, members, deliverers, cranking out the duplicated leaflets is important everywhere – indeed it’s more important in “no hope” areas (but um… do go and help in your local targets as well!)

    Legend has it that in the 1970s a Liberal in a bobble hat trudged up a path to knock on a remote cottage to possibly recruit a member in a “no hope” constituency which was a Conservative/Labour marginal and where we were a distant third…

    ….

    ….That new recruit was Paddy Ashdown and by 1983 we had won the constituency!

    So, folks – go and find your Paddy Ashdown or better still be him yourself – as there are millions of Lib Dems in “no hope” seats – throw (metaphorical) stones at your useless Labservative council – and John I guess from your output and previous councillor roles you would be/have been/are particularly good at that – stick it on a piece of paper and shove it through someone’s letterbox, march towards the sound of gunfire, get things done locally (even if it’s only a paving stone mended that’s going to stop someone tripping and made your time on this earth worthwhile), change the world! ……

    I ask you did Magna Carta die in vain?!

    And now people will be glad to know I am out of clichés!!!

    But seriously folks do you want to lie on your deathbed thinking all did was chill to netflix? It isn’t that compulsive! (Well OK youtube is maybe 🙂 – and LDV I think is probably a Tory plot to prevent Lib Dems getting out and doing something productive!!!!!!!!

    ————–

    (Actually in 1974 in Yeovil we had come a close third (and second in Feb 74) but it was as described in 1970 – and why ruin a good story!)

    (I didn’t realise it until I look at wikipedia that the Conservative candidate that Paddy defeated was David Martin who then became the MP for Portsmouth South and was defeated by the Lib Dems and then became the Tory candidate for Bristol West and was defeated by the Lib Dems!!! A bit like Gerry Malone who kept on being defeated by Lib Dems in different seats!)

  • All the evidence shows that face-to-face conversations are the most effective campaigning tool, if individual voters object they dont have to come to the door & we should be standing well back in any case.
    Having people at Polling stations will be more important than ever this Year, we can have boxes of pens ready for Voters who forget to bring their own, as many will.

  • John Marriott 27th Feb '21 - 3:43pm

    Yes, EXACTLY, Mr Raw. Stay safe, and beware of strangers, especially those with clip boards and sporting a yellow/orange/gold* rosette!
    *Colour dependent on area.

  • John Marriott 27th Feb '21 - 4:46pm

    @Michael1
    Of course, it was throwing stones not shouting. Mind you, the two would go nicely together.That “Liberal in a bobble hat”, who called on Paddy, wasn’t you by any chance?

  • Little Jackie Paper 27th Feb '21 - 8:53pm

    If masked people come knocking on my door they can expect to be invited to remove either the mask or themselves.

  • nvelope2003 28th Feb '21 - 8:40am

    No county council elections in Somerset this year pending reform to unitary Council next year

  • @John Marriott

    Lol 🙂 !!!

    As I was in my pram at the time – well OK not quite – it would have been a little difficult!

    But there is an important point here that even in the “no hope” seats, there is a lot to be done.

    So, I will be going out and buying my yellow/orange/gold bobble hat and knocking on people’s doors – and inviting them to join the Lib Dems. It may be an interesting site in my mask and I may have a few doors slammed in my face as looking like a complete weirdo but I will persist!

    Perhaps more importantly – I will be reporting all the dodgy paving stones to the council. And putting my work on a bit of paper and shoving it through people’s doors – especially on May 7th.

    One of the issues – and I appreciate it’s difficult when you are in third, fourth, fifth place is that people need to have different objectives from necessarily winning immediately at the next election. And improving your area and building the Lib Dem infrastructure is one of those objectives – even in “no hope” areas.

    And the Liberal’s community politics of the ’70s was one of those different objectives. Not conceived as a route to electoral success it did nonetheless lead to it.

    ——————–

    As far as I can see from Wikipedia (and no doubt people will correct me if I am wrong) , Paddy’s win in Yeovil in 1983 was the only English gain by the Alliance which I didn’t realise. And only 18th on the list of Alliance of UK targets.

    Colne Valley was a nominal gain as it was estimated that on the then new 1983 boundaries Labour would have won it but Richard Wainwright was the sitting MP for the seat.

  • Peter Martin 28th Feb '21 - 2:29pm

    Just had a Tory leaflet, very professionally done and more like a brochure, posted through my letter box!

  • Cannot see any issue with delivering a leaflet through a door.

  • Tony Greaves 28th Feb '21 - 7:36pm

    Just to be clear there is no evidence at all that delivering leaflets as such is a significant or even minor cause of Covid infection. So if it’s done in the approved way it is a safe activity and should take place. As often as necessary.

  • James Fowler 2nd Mar '21 - 11:49am

    Great news all round.

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