May 2021 Local Elections: Covid-19

Part of Cabinet Office – in the House of Commons at on 17 December 2020.

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Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Engagement

My hon. Friend Kate Osborne set out the scale of these elections very clearly. With less than five months to go until these major polls right across the United Kingdom, I hope the Minister will be able to respond to some questions that are on the minds of electoral administrators, campaigners and, most importantly, voters. Will voters be required to wear face coverings in polling stations? If so, will polling clerks be expected to enforce that, and what resources will they get to do that? If they are not required to wear face coverings, what protections will be put in place to protect staff in polling stations? What steps are the Government taking to ensure that we have adequate staffing at polling stations? As my hon. Friend Navendu Mishra set out—and I do not think the Minister adequately answered his question—so many of our volunteers are from an older demographic, and if the vaccine programme is not sufficiently rolled out, we face a shortage of staff.