Joe Meakin reports on the recent decision to postpone local elections due to the global pandemic
Following a recommendation by the Electoral Commission, the independent body responsible for regulating elections, the government has postponed local and mayoral elections. This has impacted the West Midlands mayoral election, which was originally scheduled to take place in May of this year.
The postponement comes in response to the current global coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking about the development, the commission’s chief executive, Bob Posner, said: ‘We welcome and support the UK Government’s decision to postpone the May elections. This will allow local authorities to focus their efforts on delivering front line public services and importantly, mitigates risks to voters and campaigners.’
Posner went on to say that they will be working with ‘the wider electoral community to ensure elections in 2021.’
Andy Street, the Conservative mayor of the West Midlands, tweeted that he was ‘pleased that the Government has taken a clear and decisive decision in delaying May’s Mayoral election.’
‘The focus of everyone in the West Midlands needs to be on how we tackle COVID-19 and look after the most vulnerable in our society.’
His main rival for the mayoralty, Labour’s Liam Byrne, also said in a tweet that ‘Delaying the elections is a sensible decision for public health. Local authorities need to be able to focus on working with the health service to protect people from the virus.’
Elsewhere in the world, elections are being affected by the coronavirus, too. The state of Louisiana became the first in the U.S. to postpone their presidential primary due to the outbreak.