Another week and the threat from Covid-19 continues to rise. As we near the vote in May, how are the candidates reacting?
According to Sadiq Khan the London mayoral election will still go ahead. On LBC yesterday morning he confirmed that the Chief Medical Officer had said there is no reason why the election shouldn’t go ahead even as the electoral commission applies to the government to postpone it until Autumn. This comes just days after a YouGov Mayoral Election Poll, the first of 2020, which showed the current incumbent has a two-to-one lead over Shaun Bailey, his nearest rival.
Sitting in third is Independent candidate Rory Stewart who has been very vocal in his opposition to the government’s Covid-19 approach, that has not been as extreme as that of other nations such as Italy who have quarantined the entire population, and Ireland which has closed all schools, despite having fewer cases than the UK.
Stewart went so far as to cancel his launch event, announcing on Twitter that: ‘I have now cancelled all public meetings, all canvassing and all-door knocking. I urge all candidates and politicians to do the same’. City AM recently reported that Stewart has suggested that authorities should consider shutting the Tube network as a precaution, something Sadiq Khan rebutted hours later.
Conservative Shaun Bailey continues to focus on crime rather than Covid-19. In a video on Twitter after People’s Question Time at Battersea Arts Centre he said that: ‘Sadiq Khan refused to take responsibility for crime rising in London and deflected from answering the important questions of Londoners’.
Crime isn’t the most important issue facing Londoners now, though. When this campaign started the fulcrum on which its result sat was crime, a situation that favoured crime-focussed Bailey. Now this is the Covid-19 election. Crime must take a backseat whilst London, the UK and the international community combats this fast spreading pandemic.
Liberal Democrat Siobhan Benita has unsurprisingly stepped into the fray and joined Khan in opposing Rory Stewart’s opposition to the government. On London reported that she claimed that Stewart was ‘sowing distrust in expert advice’ with his comments.
Elsewhere Green Party Candidate Sian Berry has advised her campaigners to start limiting their canvassing activities so that they will make themselves less vulnerable. Drillminister and David Kurten have yet to comment at the time of writing.