Local elections 2021: Heated row erupts after Labour MP hints at further delay to vote

Local elections: Julia Hartley-Brewer grills MP on potential delays

Mr Reynolds stated that given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic he “cannot see how local elections” can take place. However, Ms Hartley-Brewer argued that giving up the “fundamental right” to vote meant as a country “we are in dangerous territory.” Both local and mayoral elections have been expected to be taking place in May 2021 after the pandemic forced officials to postpone the vote in response to the spread of the virus. 

TalkRADIO host Julia Hartley-Brewer asked: “Is there any justification, given that the United States was able to hold a presidential election at the hight of their pandemic, is there any excuse for there to be any cancellation of those elections

“Or do you just think that the Government is just running scared of just frankly running scared of getting the verdict of the voters sooner than they want?”

Mr Reynolds responded: “It is hugely frustrating because I hoped they would proceed after we postponed them last year.

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“On an all postal basis, we have had pilots in the past as people will know and that has worked quite well. Honestly, in terms of where we are, as the government as not prepared for that, I cannot see how local election campaigns, mayoral election campaigns, national campaigns can begin. 

Asked why by the host, Mr Reynolds added: “Well people going door to door canvassing that is clearly not practical.”

“Do it online” interjected host Hartley-Brewer, “send letters.”

She continued: “Well you are all in the same boat. I think an awful not of parties seem very keen on their not being elections.

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“I think the fundamental right to vote is not one that we should ever give up lightly folks.

“Dangerous territory there.”

According to the Office for National Statistics around one in 50 people in England, which has been particularly badly hit by the new Covid strain first identified in Kent, is currently infected with the virus.

In the past seven days, 417,570 cases of coronavirus have been registered in the UK – the highest number recorded since the start of the pandemic.

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The figure is a 14 percent rise on the previous week, with fears cases will continue to increase in the coming days.

In England, Ministers are reviewing the lockdown measures, and considering making them stricter in a bid to help drive down the number of infections.

However, the Prime Minister is understood to be keen to have more data from the impact of the current restrictions before making a decision.

New plans on how to speed up the vaccination programme are also expected to be announced on Monday evening as Matt Hancock resumes weekly updates on the state of the crisis.

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