Canvassing for elections OK from 8 March in England, says government

After the controversies over the previous government words on political campaigning, and in the face of criticism from democracy campaigners, the government has changed tack.

A new statement includes the green light for canvassing to restart in England:

From 8 March, therefore, people who are campaigning in support of the electoral success (or against the electoral success) of candidates or political parties, or relating to a referendum outcome, will be allowed to deliver leaflets and canvass electors in relation to the elections and local referendums taking place on 6 May and for any further by-elections and local referendums being held for as long as COVID-19 related restrictions remain in place. The number of campaigners operating together should be kept to an absolute minimum and a minimum 2 metres distance should be maintained between them at all times.

Campaigners should not enter a private home. Campaigners may speak to electors on their doorsteps, maintaining at least 2 metres distance at all times.

Campaigners should only enter premises, such as a shared hallway in a block of flats, where absolutely necessary to reach individual homes served by communal areas. Unless it is unsafe to do so, canvassing from within shared internal areas should be carried out by a single campaigner.

For Scotland and Wales, watch out for further news:

Guidance will be published for campaigning in Wales and Scotland and the governments will work together to ensure the ability to operate across boundaries of the constituent nations in a practicable manner. It is essential that all those involved in campaigning follow the guidance for the relevant part of the UK they are campaigning in.

The party’s own campaigning guidelines goes into more detail on appropriate health precautions and will continue to be regularly updated as circumstances change.

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