Doorstep political leafleting to resume under new guidance

Political leaflets will be permitted to be hand delivered by next week, according to new government guidance issued.

Before this, the general government advice during lockdown was that political parties and activists could not hand deliver leaflets in the run up to local elections on May 6 – but could deliver leaflets through post or commercial delivery services.

But from March 8 political parties, candidates and campaigners will be allowed to deliver leaflets and canvass electors as long as Covid-19 related restrictions remain in place.

New government guidance issued on Friday (February 26) states the number of campaigners should be kept at a minimum, and a two-metres distance should be maintained at all times.

Campaigners should not enter a private home, but they are permitted to speak to electors at their doorsteps as long as they are wearing face coverings.

The guidance also states that campaigners should only enter premises such as a shared hallway if absolutely necessary to reach homes in communal areas.

In the past two months, Labour and Conservative members around Watford have accused Liberal Democrat activists of flouting the former guidance.

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The Watford Observer was aware of various sightings of some councillors delivering Liberal Democrat material.

Cllr Giles-Medhurst denied activists were hand delivering “political” items such as the ‘WatfordWideNews’ tabloid-styled newsletter and similar items – but admitted there have been circumstances where a few other Liberal Democrat materials have been hand delivered.

This would include the ‘Covid up-date & Annual Review’ letters and other “personally addressed” letters.

He stated the material distributed by the few councillors would not have had political affiliation to the upcoming local elections and are instead “personal letters” or unrelated to campaigning.

According to the Liberal Democrat, the majority of materials are being delivered through local delivery companies.

Constitution minister Chloe Smith said: “Democracy should not be cancelled because of Covid. Voters appreciate being well-informed and campaigning is an important part of effective elections.

“I urge political campaigners to continue to show social responsibility, and for parties, agents and candidates to ensure that their campaigners understand the clear rules.”

Hillingdon Times | News