27 January 2021
The Green Party has warned that a ban on grass-roots campaigning is threatening free and fair elections this year.
Cabinet Office Minister Chloe Smith has this week written to political parties saying door to door campaigning was “neither essential nor necessary”.
The Green Party has followed public health and legal guidance in recent weeks in order to deliver community support and advice to residents. This is particularly welcomed by those who may be struggling or digitally excluded. Councillors are always available to help residents, but sometimes getting a leaflet through the door is a useful reminder of how to contact them or other bodies which are able to help.
"I've had really positive feedback from residents," said Charlotte Bonner, candidate for the Green Party in Weaponness and Ramshill. "One of the advice organisations featured in our autumn newsletter actually contacted me to thank me for including them."
"I'm concerned about the preservation of local democracy," said Falsgrave & Stepney candidate Nicola Elson. "Community campaigning is a crucial part of allowing people to have a genuine choice of parties to vote for.
"I received a pizza takeaway menu through my letterbox this morning - if this is appropriate, then so is receiving information from local parties."
Local leafleting organiser Dilys Cluer added, "We have been really careful during the autumn with use of masks, hand sanitiser and social distancing, and I'm sure our leaflets pose no more hazard than anything else you get through your door."
Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley said,
"Democracy is a process, not a one off event. For any election to be free and fair then it is vital political parties have the ability to campaign so the public can engage with the choices on offer, but at the moment the Conservatives in Government are saying traditional campaigning at the grass roots level should effectively cease.
“There are serious questions about who is empowered to make such a decision in a democracy. To avoid conflicts of interest this should be decided by a body such as the Electoral Commission, not a party that stands to gain from the decision."