Labour candidates resume campaigning after Manchester atrocity

Written by David Singleton on 24 May 2017 in Diary

Mike Gapes said democracy should not be undermined by 'murderous terrorists'.

Political parties are set to suspend national campaigning general election campaigning until the weekend – but some candidates are already hitting the doorstep again.

A Tory source said there would be "no local or national campaigning" by the party today following the atrocity in Manchester.

Labour bosses have told local party branches that national campaigning general election campaigning is "likely" to be suspended until the weekend. Activists are being given the green light to carry out local campaign activities - such as door-to-door canvassing - from tomorrow.

However, Labour candidates including former MPs Mike Gapes and Ben Bradshaw are already hitting the doorsteps again today.

Gapes, until recently the MP for Ilford, tweeted last night: “We must not allow murderous terrorists to undermine our democratic society. I will be resuming political campaigning tomorrow morning.”

His colleague Ben Bradshaw is taking the same approach as he fights to remain as Labour MP for Exeter. Bradshaw said Gapes was “right as usual” and that he would now be “talking to the people of Exeter, as I do most other days of my life”.




It comes as some Tory candidates took to social media today to make it clear that they would not be hitting the campaign trail yet.

“National and local campaigning will continue to be suspended today following the callous, cowardly terror attack in Manchester,” said Rob Wilson, former MP for Reading East, today.

With polling day barely a fortnight away, it had been hoped that the national campaign would resume either tomorrow or Friday. Some senior commentators have suggested that while it was right that campaign activities were suspended for one day, they should now resume.

Editor of the Political Betting website Mike Smithson has stated: “Things need to be restored in order to allow the proper scrutiny ahead of this huge political decision that the nation will be taking.”

And Channel 4 News political correspondent Michael Crick has tweeted: “Understandable campaigns suspended to show respect, but longer truce might contradict pledge to show we won't be deflected by terrorism.”

But speculation is mounting that it could be postponed for several more days after Theresa May last night announced the UK's terror threat level was being upgraded frome "severe" to "critical".

One former Labour MP in London emailed activists yesterday to tell them that "all national and local campaigning is now suspended until further notice". They added: "This includes leaflets rounds and calling."

Jeremy Corbyn today told staff at Labour HQ that local campaigning will resume tomorrow, with the national campaign re-starting Friday.

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall said his party would launch its general election manifesto tomorrow because Britain cannot "allow our way of life to be undermined" by terrorists.

He added: "The best response we can make is to ensure that the democratic process continues and therefore I have decided that we must to go ahead with the launch of the UKIP general election manifesto tomorrow. For those who say that nothing must change, but then complain, it is by prolonging the disruption to normality that we allow the terrorists to win. Politics has never been more important, politicians must deal with these issues."



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