PM delays May 7 elections for one year over coronavirus

Boris Johnson has postponed the May 7 elections for one year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Government said on Friday that the Prime Minister has delayed the local, mayoral and police and crime commission elections until May 2021.

Mr Johnson made the decision over concerns that voters would be heading to polling stations during the height of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Both the Electoral Commission and the Labour Party had called on the PM to take action in delaying the votes.

A Government spokeswoman said: "We will bring forward legislation to postpone local, mayoral and police and crime commissioner elections until May next year.

"We will also work with the devolved administrations to ensure that they have the necessary powers to do the same."

Ministers had appeared to be pushing on with plans to hold the vote after the Electoral Commission polling watchdog recommended the delay.

Chief executive Bob Posner called for a delay until the autumn, in a letter to the Government which was later backed by Labour.

Mr Posner highlighted "real risks" over voter turnout and safety, as well as candidates' ability to campaign.

The PM's move is the most significant delay to polling since then-prime minister Tony Blair suspended the local and general elections in 2001 over the foot and mouth outbreak.

Votes were due to be held in about 118 councils across England, while Londoners were to choose their mayor.

The Association of Electoral Administrators, which represents election chiefs, had warned there may not be enough staff to keep all polling stations open due to sickness or self-isolation.