Elections in parts of England ‘likely’ to be postponed, raising questions about Senedd poll

Counting votes for the Clwyd West constituency in 2016. Picture by Llywelyn2000.

Elections in parts of England are “likely” to be postponed again, raising the possibility that Senedd elections in May could follow suit.

According to BBC Radio Manchester, political leaders in Great Manchester have been briefed by the UK Government that May’s Mayoral and local elections are likely to be postponed again until the summer or autumn.

Local and mayoral elections in England were previously postponed for a year to May 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Senedd elections are due to take place in Wales in May alongside Police and crime commissioner elections.

Elsewhere in the UK, elections are due to take place for the Scottish Parliament, London Assembly, regional Mayoral elections, and local councils, and Police and crime commissioner in England.

BBC Manchester journalist Kevin Fitzpatrick said: “The government has suggested they’re moved to the summer but Greater Manchester’s leaders says it’s more realistic to plan for Autumn.”

The Cabinet Office told BBC Manchester that elections are still planned to go ahead but the matter will be “kept under review”.

The Welsh Government is already planning a new law which would allow the Presiding Officer to delay elections in Wales by up to six months if need be.

Welsh Conservatives have opposed the move but if the UK Government announces that elections are to be postponed across the UK, such a move in Wales could become more likely.

Cathy Owens, the Director of lobbying firm Deryn said that “it does look like Boris has provided the political cover for Welsh Labour to press the button”.

 

‘Safe’

Earlier this week First Minister Mark Drakeford said he wanted to “allow some flexibility” but said he remains “committed” to the 6 May polling date.

“I remain committed to a Senedd election in May of this year,” Mr Drakeford told BBC Wales.

“But in the circumstances we face it is simply responsible to put on the statute book a bill that would allow some flexibility in that date should that be necessary and we’ll embark on that process early in the coming term.

“The Senedd badly needs an election. We have to do it in circumstances that are safe and don’t prevent people from going to the polling booths.”

Organisers had already confirmed that the counting of votes for May’s Senedd election will not take place until the day after the polls close because of the pandemic.

Organisers have decided not to count votes overnight “due to the Covid-19 restrictions that are expected to be in place” at the time.

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