Somerset elections called off

This evening the Secretary of State for Local Government announced May elections would be cancelled. In a move that was not a massive surprise Somerset, Cumbria and North Yorkshire will retain sitting councillors. All three councils had asked for a postponement of elections.

Those elections will now take place in May 2022. New councillors will be elected for the new unitary authority or authorities. That depends on which option is selected by the Secretary of State – One Somerset or Stronger Somerset. Instead of elections the Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick, will launch a consultation. This will ask residents, businesses and others which of the two options you prefer.

What will not happen, and it is regrettable, is a proper referendum. However the Secretary of State chooses, it will be based on dubious evidence. It may well be that the results of the consultation are neither transparent or open to public scrutiny.

And in the meantime you can expect a lot of spending by both sides to win your hearts and minds.

The elections for the Police and Crime Commissioner will go ahead as planned.

2 comments

  • At least people will be giving reasons for their preference

  • Bit daft, in my view. – three reasons

    -Police and Crime Commissioner Elections will still l go ahead in Somerset on the same day. So not much gain in terms of finacial savings or safety. .and PCC turnout likely to be low. which is a shame given that the winner will have a big effect on law and order policy for the following 4 years
    -Presumes that one of the tow hostile takeover bids to form a single authority will go ahead. Not a priority. Most people likely to support “no change”
    -Delaying fixed term elections undermines democracy to some extent. If elections gad gone ahead and Conservatives lost control of county council then the takeover bid would have been dead in the waster – so cynics may suspect base motive

    Not surprised that the minister has dodged the issue though, as taking sides would mean making am group of conservative councillors redundant – unless both takeover bids are rejected.

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