Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, mayoral and local elections have now been postponed for one year. The Electoral Commission had previously recommended earlier this week that London’s mayoral election, which was due to be held in May, be postponed.
According to reports, both local and mayoral elections will now be taking place in May 2021.
According to the Mirror, a Government spokeswoman said: “We will bring forward legislation to postpone local, mayoral and police and crime commissioner elections until May next year.
“We will also work with the devolved administrations to ensure that they have the necessary powers to do the same.”
The election for the next London mayor was due to take place on May 7.
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Incumbent London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted in reaction to the news: “The Government has taken the decision to postpone the May elections for a year.
“I will continue to work with the Government and experts to help London manage coronavirus over the weeks and months ahead.
“I will always do everything in my power to stand up for London.”
Independent candidate for London Mayor Rory Stewart said it was the “right decision”.
He added: “We should now move more rapidly to close gatherings, and schools; extend the isolation period; and restrict non-essential visits to care homes (who have few back up options for patients if they have to close.)”
In a letter to Chloe Smith, Minister for the Constitution and Devolution, the Electoral Commission said earlier this week: “Clearly any decisions to delay elections which are due is significant and would not normally be desirable; however, we are in unprecedented times.
“The risks to delivery that have been identified are such that we cannot be confident that voters will be able to participate in the polls safely and confidently, nor that campaigners and parties will be able to put their case to the electorate.
“We therefore call on the Government to take steps to provide early clarity to all those with an interest in the electoral process; and on the available information and position we recommend the Government now delay the 7 May polls until the autumn.”
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According to Public Health England, there have been 798 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK as of March 13.
Of this figure, 10 people diagnosed with coronavirus have died.
But the actual figure of infections could be much higher, as 5,000 and 10,000 people are believed to have been infected already, according to the Government’s top scientist.
This week England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said the virus is expected to peak in the UK in 10-14 weeks time.
The Government has announced it has initiated the ‘delay’ phase of its four-stage plan to tackle coronavirus.
Following the Electoral Commission’s recommendations to postpone the May elections earlier this week, Sadiq Khan said it was “crucial” to follow expert advice as the coronavirus outbreak continues.
He tweeted on Thursday: “As with all issues relating to Coronavirus, it’s crucial we follow the expert advice of the Chief Medical Officer and Public Health England.
“I await official advice from the Government who, with Parliament, will take the final decision on whether to delay the May elections.”
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