'Perfect storm' of elections in 2020 must be planned for, London Assembly warns government
PUBLISHED: 16:38 03 August 2016 | UPDATED: 18:14 03 August 2016
London may have a “perfect storm” of elections in 2020, juggling its own polls for mayor and the Assembly with the General Election for Westminster.
The forecast is worrying the London Assembly’s Election Review panel chief Len Duvall who fears it could be a stormy time for going to the polls with a raft of election complications.
“These things take years to coordinate,” he points out. “We need to know now if the General Election is to run the same time as London goes to the polls.
“Contracts need to be procured, with plans taking two to three years to put in place—a ‘wait and see’ attitude is not an option.”
This year’s London Mayor and Assembly polls in May had a turnout of 46 per cent, the highest ever.
So the implications of the City Hall elections—the most complex in the UK—and a general election swirling around on the same day could be a stormy nightmare and a major issue about resources.
The London elections involve four votes, three ballot papers, three voting systems and eight-million votes, as well as distributing six-million information booklets, opening 4,000 polling stations, coordinating 12,000 staff and managing a budget of £18 million over four years.
“The government needs to make a call,” Len Duvall insists. “Are we running the elections at the same time—or rescheduling the London polls to avoid a ‘perfect storm’ of confusion for voters?
“The call has to be made and it has to be made in the next six months. We need a decision soon.”
But critics believe it’s a storm in a teacup and say Assembly members shouldn’t panic. Prime Minister Theresa May could help London avoid the “perfect storm” in 2020—by calling a snap general election before then.