May elections to go ahead as chiefs call for indemnity

By Heather Jameson and Dan Peters | 21 January 2021

Local elections will go ahead on 6 May despite the ongoing pandemic, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ruled.

Mr Johnson's decision comes as returning officers called for protection from lawsuits amid concerns they could be held personally responsible – and sued – if people catch COVID while voting.

In a letter to constitution minister Chloe Smith, president of chief executives' organisation Solace, Joanne Roney, and the group’s spokesperson for elections and democracy, Louise Round, said: ‘We understand returning officers were indemnified for issues relating to the foot and mouth pandemic in 2001 and this approach should be adopted in respect of the current COVID-19 pandemic.’

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