Local Tories have laid down a challenge to rival political parties to put public safety before party politics and avoid door-to-door canvassing while campaigning for May’s local elections.
A spokesman for the party said yesterday: “Putting resident’s safety before party politics, the Hastings and Rye Conservative Association has taken the decision not to allow their candidates or volunteers to canvass on the doorstep.
“Working within Covid-19 safety guidelines, election literature will still be delivered so that the electorate will have a chance to see who their local candidates are.”
Hastings and Rye Conservative Association Chairman Martin Clarke has challenged his political rivals to do the same: “We call on the other local political parties to follow our lead and respect the safety of residents, candidates and volunteers during the current Covid-19 restrictions.
“We value people’s safety in these difficult times and while the UK Government has given its approval for door-to-door canvassing, we believe many people would not appreciate it and prefer we didn’t!
“However we do want to have conversations with residents, so we will be calling people on the telephone and communicating via our candidates election literature which will have candidates contact details.”
Chair of the local branch of the Liberal Democrats Bob Lloyd confirmed this morning that: “…we will not only be following the guidelines we will take extra care while leafleting.
“We do not intend to canvass but will increase out social media footprint.
The Tories have the financial resources to pay for leaflets to be delivered, sadly we have more limited resources but we have a very enthusiastic band of volunteers who love to exercise in the fresh air as they tramp the beautiful streets of Hastings.”
Hastings Green Party has told Hastings In Focus it will be, “following government guidance” on Covid restrictions, which allows for canvassing as well as leafletting from 8 March.
A spokesman said: “It is odd that the Hastings Conservatives do not trust their own government on this – either that, or they are using it as an excuse to avoid some uncomfortable conversations on doorsteps.”
Councillor Judy Rogers Labour’s election agent says that Labour campaigners will be following government and party guidelines and she says it is imperative to ensure that no-one is put at risk.