Preston Lib-Dems vow to carry on canvassing, despite Covid

Preston’s Lib-Dems have refused to stop delivering election leaflets door-to-door  even though the Tories and Labour are staying home due to Covid.

By Brian Ellis
Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 7:00 am

The opposition party says it is not breaking the law and has no intention of calling a halt in the build-up to the city and county council polls on May 6.

The decision has been branded “opportunistic and selfish” by a Conservative councillor who is a medical student and who says leafleting by hand is flouting Government guidance, especially in an area like Preston where coronavirus cases have been high.

Labour leader Coun Matthew Brown says delivering election material “is at best irresponsible and at worst potentially in breach of Covid regulations.”

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Coun John Potter says the Lib-Dems will continue delivering leaflets.

He added: “Hopefully we will be in a position to safely campaign soon, but in the meantime the public health of the community must come before party politics.”

But Coun John Potter, leader of the Lib-Dems at the Town Hall, is unrepentant, saying: “We are perfectly within the law to do it. How can any other form of delivery like church newsletters or pizza takeaway leaflets be OK yet election material isn’t?”

Government guidelines currently say political parties should refrain from sending out volunteers because they are putting them at risk. But that advice is set to be lifted on Monday when canvassing will be permitted, as long it is done in a socially distanced way.

Tory Coun Charles Latchford, who sparked the debate by slamming the Lib-Dems for their stance on leafleting, said: “Exemptions from the stay at home rule are for food shopping, medical appointments and the like - not going house to house spreading propaganda.

"The opportunistic and selfish nature of these councillors, who clearly have no regard for people’s health or safety, is astonishing.”