London Mayoral Election Could Be Postponed Due To Coronavirus

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London Mayoral Election Could Be Postponed Due To Coronavirus
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The upcoming mayoral election could be postponed due to fears over coronavirus.

The UK Electoral Commission — the independent body that oversees elections — has written to the government advising to postpone the planned set of elections on 7 May. Chief among those elections is the London mayoral contest.

The reasoning for wanting to postpone the election is manifold. The Commission says that local authorities have already raised concerns about being able to set up and staff polling stations in time for the election, while also trying to handle the pressure that coronavirus will cause on their other services. Furthermore, campaigning could be highly impacted by Covid-19, and many of the candidates' positions and arguments might not be heard. Finally there is the fear that many voters will not be able or perhaps not inclined to vote in case of a wider outbreak.

City Hall

It's because of all these issues in what it calls "unprecedented times" that the Commission recommends postponing the election until the autumn. This decision will need to be taken swiftly, as publication of notice of election — which kicks off the formal timetable — is due later this month. You can read the full letter here.

The incumbent mayor, Sadiq Khan, has thus far preached a message of calm over coronavirus, reassuring Londoners that it's still safe to use public transport, while also upping cleaning on services in an attempt to exterminate the virus.

On the other end of the spectrum, rival independent candidate Rory Stewart has called for the schools to be closed and all large public gatherings to be banned.

Keep up to date on all the latest coronavirus news here.

Last Updated 12 March 2020