Thank you candidates, agents and campaign teams

News of the delay in this May’s local elections by a year is a sign of just how serious the coronavirus outbreak is.

It also means that for many candidates, agents and campaign teams who were gearing up for May, there’s now an unsettling vacuum in their political lives. What was going to be a peak of effort, with big impacts on the lives of people who are or aren’t elected, is now suddenly put off.

There’s also the weird situation that some councillors – along with their families – find themselves in. Those who were expecting to retire in a few weeks, sometimes after many years of voluntary public service, instead face an extra 12 months before they get to stand down.

There’s a bundle of questions about what will happen with by-elections, for example, in the next year. We don’t yet know the details.

But regardless of them, a huge thank you to everyone involved, and best of luck keeping things going for another year.

This post was first published on Mark’s blog.

* Mark Pack is Party President and Co-leader of the party. He is editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire.

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This entry was posted in Campaign Corner.
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11 Comments

  • Paul Barker 14th Mar '20 - 4:45pm

    one result is that next Year virtually every Voter in The UK will get the chance to Vote on how The Government have handled The Virus & Brexit.

  • nigel hunter e 14th Mar '20 - 5:30pm

    We must still campaign both on the net ,emails,press releases. anyway we can.

  • Geoffrey Francis Walker 14th Mar '20 - 6:50pm

    Why not have postal or e-votes for everyone? No extra cost to sending out polling cards. Does away to costs of staff in polling stations and arrangements for such. Does away with need to apply for postal votes and cost of administration. Achieves same result.

  • Tony Greaves 14th Mar '20 - 9:48pm

    Sorry but democratic elections require the ability to campaign, in person, on the streets, meetings and all the rest. Without that they would be a sham.

  • Tony Greaves 14th Mar '20 - 9:50pm

    In addition, while postal voting is accepted in this country it is wide open to fraud. There is no way at present that e-voting can be made safe and certainly not in a couple of weeks! I doubt if local authorities could organise a 100% postal vote in the time available anyway.

  • People have to count votes. They will probably be more usefully working elsewhere. Preferably where we do not need a large group of people sitting together for a couple of hours. With many people self isolating there will be enough problems without adding to them.

  • Re universal postal voting, in 2004 a number of regions had as a large scale experiment, including the North West. One of our Council candidates then was offered unopened postal ballot mailings for a £1 each in a pub in the centre of Chester. Numerous other problems at the time, mostly down to poor administrative systems, ensured this won’t happen again. Agree with Tony Greaves about the necessity of campaigning, otherwise it’s a joke.
    Re deferred elections, we now have a PCC candidate in place 14 months before polling day, and raring to go. Can ALDC help us plan a decent campaign for a weaker LD area (Cheshire – there are others) so we can make the most of this gift.

  • No-one so far appears to have raised the issue of Councillors over the age of 70 – which includes myself.
    If the Government’s next alleged anti-virus measure comes into play, then all over-70s – including Councillors – will be confined to their homes indefinitely and that means us 70+ Councillors won’t be attending Council meetings .
    Under current law, that means after 6 months non-attendance, we’ll be kicked off the Council.
    What’s to be done about this? Will we be granted some sort of leave of absence – currently granted to people who are ill – or will some form of electronic meetings be brought in, allowing Councillors to speak and vote from their homes?

  • There are questions about why this needs to be for a year – and also as Mark says details about term extension and by-elections. You could make a case that anyone up for election in May can stand down and the party they represented nominate a replacement. That’s well short of ideal of course but is a form of solution.

    I’m pretty sure that aspects of this would require legislation (or orders under the Civil Contingencies Act which we are pretty much heading towards being invoked. What is important is that such things get adequate scrutiny in Parliament – something on which there is a gaping silence.

  • Hywel is spot on. The year extension in peacetime makes me feel very uneasy. Early September would have made sense. Why wasn’t the advice of the Electoral Commission acceptable?

  • It seems from reports that the government is looking at emergency legislation (for a whole raft of things) rather than using the Civil Contingencies Act. I’m not sure why – the CCA has some pretty clear provisions about Parliamentary approval – and very importantly can revoke them rather than it being a decision from the executive.

    The safeguards and scrutiny of any emergency legislation is very (VERY) important and I’m not seeing anyone talking about this.

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