Officials urge government to postpone May 7 elections over coronavirus

Boris Johnson leaves a polling station after casting his vote in an election. Photograph: Ian Nichol

Boris Johnson leaves a polling station after casting his vote in an election. Photograph: Ian Nicholson/PA. - Credit: PA

Elections chiefs have urged the government to consider postponing the local elections if the coronavirus outbreak worsens.

The Association of Electoral Administrators (AEA) warned there may be insufficient staff to keep all polling stations open due to Covid-19 sickness or self-isolation.

The group has written to constitution minister Chloe Smith outlining officials' concerns about the May 7 elections, which include councils and for the London mayor.

AEA chief executive Peter Stanyon called for guidance on how to sanitise polling stations and warned that some temporary staff are turning down polling station work due to the risk of contracting the virus.

'Returning Officers will work hard to recruit new people, but if the outbreak worsens as we approach May 7, we are worried that there will simply not be enough staff to keep all stations open,' he wrote.


Have your say

Send your letters for publication to The New European by emailing letters@theneweuropean.co.uk and pick up an edition each Thursday for more comment and analysis. Find your nearest stockist here or subscribe to a print or digital edition for just £13. You can also join our readers' Facebook group to keep the discussion and debate going with thousands of fellow pro-Europeans.



You may also want to watch:


'This could be made worse if someone who attends polling station training were to show symptoms, leading to all staff at that training session needing to self-isolate.'

He added: 'We would also urge you to look at the legal basis for postponing polls, both for individual areas and across the UK, should the situation worsen as we approach May 7.'

Most Read

The government was monitoring the spread of the coronavirus ahead of the polls.

Smith said: 'We are working to facilitate the local, mayoral, and Police and Crime Commissioner elections on 7 May.

'My officials and I are engaging with the Association of Electoral Administrators to ensure we are working together effectively to deliver this.'

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a supporter
Comments powered by Disqus