The Government reiterated that the May 6 elections will go ahead, albeit with potential restrictions on campaigning. In a 'May 2021 polls Delivery Plan', published by the Cabinet Office, it said councils will be allocated funding to make voting and the counting process safe.
It's not yet been finalised yet how parties and candidates will go about campaigning, which depends on whether social distancing measures are relaxed over the coming months.
Democracy groups have joined together to urge the Government to clarify the rules on political leafleting.
Ahead of the May elections, Big Brother Watch, Article 19, Fair Vote UK, Index on Censorship, Liberty, Unlock Democracy and the LGA Independent Group have written to Cabinet Office Minister Chloe Smith MP, asking her to “affirm that political leafleting is lawful.”
The groups' move follows a letter issued by Smith to the Parliamentary Parties Panel, claiming that the current lockdown restrictions 'do not support door to door campaigning or leafleting by individual political party activists.'
Madeleine Stone of Bg Brother Watch, said that "the freedom to distribute to distribute political leaflets is a basic right in a functioning democracy."
The Good Law Project has won the judicial review it brought against the Government. The court ruled that Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, acted unlawfully when his department did not reveal details of valuable contracts it had awarded.
The judge added the public had a right to know where the "vast" amounts spent had gone and how contracts were decided.
The Project had brought the legal action - along with opposition MPs Debbie Abrahams, Caroline Lucas and Layla Moran - against the department over its "wholesale failure" to disclose details of the contracts signed during the Coronavirus pandemic.
More than two thirds (68%) of senior council officials suggest that an autumn timetable is more achievable than May for the 2021 local elections.
Voting Counts have set up an Elections 2021 Hub where you can download free resources to promote voter registration and engagement. Established six years ago by then-A Level student Rachael Farrington, and run entirely by volunteers, their website is a wealth of information.
Don’t miss their clear and creative infographics!
The Sheila McKechnie Foundation's annual survey found that 63% of campaigners feel politicians are becoming more hostile towards them. Examples given include the Home Secretary’s description of “lefty lawyers” and “do gooders”, as well as lockdown restrictions making it harder to mobilise.
On the plus side, more than half of respondents noted greater support from the public, including for movements such as Black Lives Matter, and on pandemic-related campaigns like Marcus Rashford’s free school meals.'
Democracy Action c/o JRRT, The Garden House, Water End, York, YO30 6WQ. Democracy Action is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust as a resource for the UK democracy sector. The materials presented here represent the views of the authors, not necessarily those of JRRT.