Local elections postponed due to coronavirus

Mayoral and local elections across England have been postponed for one year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Thousands of voters in more than 100 local authorities in the country were due to head to polling stations on May 7 this year. 

On the same day, voters were also supposed to be choosing Greater Manchester’s next mayor, with incumbent Andy Burnham seeking re-election.

In Derbyshire, a Police and Crime Commissioner election was also due to take place. 

The Electoral Commission had said on Thursday the elections should be delayed until the autumn to "mitigate" the impact of the virus.

But they have now been put back a year instead by the government. 

The Cabinet Office said it would be bringing forward legislation to enact the elections delay in England. 

Yesterday (Thursday), senior Tameside councillor Oliver Ryan called for the elections to be postponed, because going to the polls would be 'too much of a risk'. 

Denton MP Andrew Gwynne, who is also Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, tweeted after the news broke on Friday afternoon:

Tameside Council’s Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington also tweeted her support of the delay.

James Jamieson, chairman of the Local Government Association, said: "The LGA has been raising a number of issues with government including the possible impact of coronavirus on local elections. The swift decision is very helpful. 

"Councils will now continue to put all of their efforts into supporting their local communities as the nation tackles Covid-19."

The government expects that the first week of May is likely to be the peak of the pandemic in the UK. 

UK coronavirus cases have now reached 798 - up 208 in the last 24 hours. 

Local elections were delayed by a month in 2001 over the foot and mouth epidemic. 

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