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3.01pm GMT

The government is planning to push ahead with local elections despite concerns that it would be too dangerous to proceed during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Chloe Smith
, the Cabinet Office minister with responsibility for elections, said a “high bar” that would need to be crossed to delay elections due to be held in May but said the position is being kept “under review”.

The elections, which include those postponed last year, will represent the first major electoral test of the country’s political leaders since the start of the pandemic.

Reports have claimed that the government was planning to suspend the elections for at least a month.

Smith told the Commons the government is looking to introduce new measures to extend proxy voting before the elections.

Voters have a choice as to how they participate in elections. At the polling station, by proxy or by post. We want to maintain that choice but we recognise that the pandemic may change people’s needs and preferences …

We will be bringing forward additional measures to support absent voting including extending the ability to appoint a proxy so that anybody who might be affected by Covid-19 in the days before the poll is still able to make their voice heard.

3.01pm GMT

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Source: The Guardian