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Elections 2021: Row breaks out as two parties campaign in Cambridgeshire over weekend after Prince Philip’s death



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The Liberal Democrats were criticised for continuing to campaign in Cambridgeshire over the weekend, following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

All the major parties announced last Friday (April 9) that they would temporarily suspend political campaigning for the local elections on May 6.

Lucy Nethsingha, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Cambridgeshire County Council
Lucy Nethsingha, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Cambridgeshire County Council

Lib Dems in Cambridgeshire resumed over the weekend, as did the Green Party, which is contesting every seat in Cambridge at elections. Both said the response was “overwhelmingly positive”.

But Cambridge Labour group tweeted on Saturday to say: “Extremely disappointing to see other parties – including Lib Dem councillors – out canvassing and leafleting in Cambridge this weekend, in light of national events. Out of respect, we will not be campaigning this weekend.”

Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats said there was no agreement to stop local campaigning beyond Friday, and that their campaigning was “low-key and respectful”.

Colin McGerty, a Liberal Democrat city councillor who is not running for re-election in May, tweeted: “Seeing @CambridgeLabour trying to exploit the death of HRH Prince Philip for cheap political point scoring makes me sick.”

He said the Green party had knocked on his door and had been “perfectly respectful”.

The Labour leader of the city council, Cllr Lewis Herbert. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Labour leader of the city council, Cllr Lewis Herbert. Picture: Keith Heppell

Cllr Herbert, who leads the Labour group on the city council, said: “Our understanding was that all the political parties agreed to suspend campaigning until after the tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh in the House of Commons (on Monday, April 12).

“And the Cambridge Labour Party is sticking to that commitment”.

The leader of Conservative group on South Cambridgeshire District Council, Heather Williams said the Conservatives suspended campaigning until Tuesday.

She said: “I am saddened but not surprised that the Liberal Democrats have chosen to continue campaigning.

“The Lib Dems may not think that a pause is necessary, but to carry on with the knowledge that other parties are not shows an exploitation of the situation as opposed to pause and thereby ensuring a level playing field”.

The leader of the Liberal Democrats on the county council, Lucy Nethsingha, said: “As agreed with other parties at a national level, we paused campaigning on Friday to mark the death of Prince Philip. There was no agreement nationally to pause local campaigning in England after Friday.

“Our local campaigning over the weekend has been low-key and respectful. The reception from the public has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The residents of Cambridgeshire are keen to discuss how our area can be improved. They have been welcoming the opportunity to talk about the very serious issues that affect people’s lives, from potholes to affordable housing and the environment.”

Cambridge Green Party candidate Jeremy Caddick. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Green Party candidate Jeremy Caddick. Picture: Keith Heppell

A spokesperson for the Cambridge Green Party, county council candidate Jeremy Caddick, said that his party did campaign over the weekend and that the response from residents was “overwhelmingly positive”.


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