Conservatives: Next election will be 'difficult' says expert
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Official guidance for England indicates doorstep campaigns by political parties are “neither essential nor necessary” during the pandemic. But the Lib Dems have ignored the public health guidance and continued to carry out in-person campaigns, accusing the Conservatives of a “brazen attempt to skew the May elections and stop elected councillors”.
The Tories and Labour have both resorted to campaigning via the phone and digital advertising ahead of voters going to the polls on May 6.
Conservative chair Amanda Milling has now written to Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey to demand the party change its approach.
She said: “It is disappointing that the Liberal Democrats are putting lives at risk in an attempt to win votes by breaking the rules.
“In the interests of protecting people across the country will you now take responsibility and immediately halt all of your doorstep campaigning activity?
“It is on all of us to work together to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives by staying at home during this national lockdown.”
On February 16 Lib Dem chief executive Mike Dixon wrote to party activists to tell them they could continue to deliver leaflets.
He said he had spoken to the Electoral Commission and National Police Chief’s Council and “in some circumstances, it is legal and permissible for volunteers to deliver leaflets”.
The official added: “We have therefore issued updated guidance to local parties about how to make decisions locally about campaigning, in line with the police’s internal legal advice.”
Ms Milling said Conservative volunteers has been asked “to pause all doorstep campaigning” as a result of lockdown.
Even Nigel Farage, who is a lockdown-sceptic, has told activists from his new Reform UK party not to campaign on doorsteps.
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“We are in a very difficult spot,” he told Express.co.uk
“I don’t like lockdown. I’m not sure it’s worked particularly well.
“But, if I’m honest, if we were to send out five or ten thousand people to go out and knock on doors and deliver leaflets, would there be a risk of the virus spray? I guess there would.”
Local elections were cancelled last year due to the pandemic but have been given the all clear to go ahead this year.
A document released by the Cabinet Office earlier this month outlining the reasoning for the elections being allowed to go ahead states phase one of the coronavirus vaccine rollout should have been completed by May.
Phase one includes all over-50s and the most vulnerable over 18-year-olds.
Covid deaths are expected to drop by 99 percent after phase one has received a jab.
May 6 has been dubbed “Super Thursday” by political commentators due to the large number of elections taking place.
As well as hundreds of council seats across England being contested, a number of Mayoral contest and the Scottish Parliament elections will take place.
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