Senedd candidate calls for return to door to door campaigning as England moves to allow canvassing
A Senedd candidate has called for assurances about when candidates will be allowed to go from door to door delivering leaflets as it was confirmed that the election is set to go ahead in two months’ time.
Yesterday the Welsh Government said that they “remain committed” to the Senedd election being held on May 6 as scheduled.
However, they still consider delivering leaflets and campaigning door to door to be outside the bounds of a “reasonable excuse” to leave home.
Cadan ap Tomos, the Liberal Democrat candidate in Ceredigion, pointed to yesterday’s announcement that in England canvassers will be able to go door to door from 8 March ahead of polling in May.
“May’s elections are vitally important, but we need to ensure that these elections are fair as well as safe,” he said.
“Ensuring the public and candidates can engage in the democratic process is about more than just putting a cross in a box. Debate and discussion is a vital component of our democracy, yet some of the most accessible ways of reaching voters are currently restricted.”
Cadan ap Tomos, who is his party’s spokesperson for Political and Constitutional Reform, launched a petition which runs until Monday calling for a change to the rules to allow political leafleting during lockdown.
“The inconsistency that allows private delivery companies to deliver what they like through our doors, but prevents political party volunteers from delivering election leaflets, needs to be urgently addressed to avoid disenfranchising smaller parties and independent candidates,” he said.
“It’s admirable that the Welsh Government are aiming to hold a safe election on 6th May, but it must be fought on a level playing field. Parties and the electorate need to know when traditional campaigning will resume.”
‘Not an excuse’
The UK Government announced yesterday that door-to-door political campaigning will be allowed to resume in England from 8 March in the run-up to local elections in May.
Campaigners will be permitted to stand on people’s doorsteps and canvass as long as they abide by the 2-metre social distancing rule.
They will not be able to enter people’s homes and should only access shared hallways in blocks of flats where “absolutely necessary”.
Yesterday Julie James MS, Minister for Housing and Local Government, said in a statement that Welsh Ministers had completed their first review of the preparations for the holding of the poll.
However, she did not name a date for when canvassers would be allowed to go door to door.
“Although it is a reasonable excuse to leave home for essential work purposes related to elections (for example if you are part of an electoral services team), to comply with legal obligations connected to elections (for example collecting signatures for a nomination), or to vote, it is not a reasonable excuse to leave home to deliver leaflets or campaign door-to-door,” she said.