Edinburgh's deputy council leader says Holyrood election should be postponed

Edinburgh's deputy council leader has called for a rethink on allowing the Scottish Parliament elections to go ahead in May.

Saturday, 20th March 2021, 7:00 am

Council staff are busy ensuring Covid safety precautions will be in place at polling stations for the May 6 vote and the counting of votes afterwards.

But Labour's Cammy Day said: "I don't think we should be asking millions of people across Scotland who have had a year of being told to stay at home and stay safe to come out and take part in an election when it could be put back a few months to allow the vaccine roll out and make sure the country is safe."

The Scottish Government has said it is confident the elections can be conducted safely and many other countries have held polls during the pandemic.

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Polling stations are expected to be kitted out with hand sanitiser and perspex screens and have one-way systems to ensure social distancing.

But Cllr Day said: “I personally think it shouldn’t be happening because we're telling everybody to stay at home and look after their grannies but now we're being told by the First Minister to make sure you get out and vote.”

And he said restrictions on campaigning meant it was not a normal political process. Although leafleting is allowed, door-to-door canvassing is banned until April 6, there will be no public meetings and streets stalls are prohibited.

He said the government should reconsider and postpone the election until later this year.

The Scottish Government insists the election can go ahead safely on May 6.

“I don't see why we have to rush into an election now – we're still in the midst of the vaccine process, we've been telling people not to see their friends and family but it's ok to go and vote.

“Postponing the election for a few months would not have harmed anybody and might have allowed the vaccine process to quickly roll out and test-and-trace arrangements to be embedded so we know we're ready to go into these big events.

“Events have been cancelled – we're not having festivals or concerts but millions of people are being encouraged to come out and engage in an activity that is not absolutely necessary at this point. There's no reason why this could not be delayed.”

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