THE local elections in May should be delayed to the autumn because of the coronavirus outbreak, officials announced.
The Electoral Commission warned the killer bug has plunged the UK into “unprecedented times” and would massively disrupt the poll.
The watchdog told ministers it “cannot be confident that voters will be able to participate in the polls safely and confidently”.
It urged No10 to postpone the elections, which are due to be held for councils, mayors and police commissioners across England and Wales.
In a letter to Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, the Commission said many voters would stay away from the polls, while party campaigning would be disrupted.
The letter said: “We anticipate that as a result of the direct and indirect impacts of Covid-19, there will be significant numbers of registered electors who in practice will not have opportunity to vote, or feel inclined.”
It also said that campaigners and parties may not “be able to put their case to the electorate.”
It added: “Clearly any decisions to delay elections which are due is significant and would not normally be desirable; however, we are in unprecedented times.”
MPs would have to pass a new law to delay the elections.
Chloe Smith, Minister for the Constitution and Devolution, said they are “working to facilitate” the May 7 poll.
But she added: “We continue to work closely with those delivering the elections, while being guided by the evidence and latest advice from medical experts.”
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