Wednesday 17 February 2021

Fight Attempts to Restrict our Democratic Rights

Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions - https://www.flickr.com/photos/cpmr/37670555055

Dear Mark Drakeford

I am writing as secretary of the Wales steering committee of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). TUSC is a registered political party and will be standing candidates in the forthcoming elections to the Senedd on 6th May.

We note the current legal prohibition on door to door leafletting for the election and wish to lodge our protest at what we consider to be an attack on a fundamental democratic right, namely the right of political parties to to campaign and to disseminate its policies.

We are fully aware of the need to restrict the spread of Coronavirus, but we note that leafletting by commercial organisations such as Royal Mail and others is permitted under current rules. It therefore appears that for some reason leafletting by volunteers is deemed to be unsafe whereas the same activity on a commercial basis is deemed to be acceptable. A hand pushing a leaflet through a door carries exactly the same risk whether it belongs to a volunteer or a paid worker.

This state of affairs is clearly discriminatory against smaller parties who do not have the financial resources to take advantage of commercial leafletting or advertising, but rely on volunteers. This could be seen as an attempt by Welsh Government to limit the effectiveness of opposition parties and to silence criticism.

We do not want to be forced into a position where we have to break the law in order to defend a democratic right, but we shall not be deterred from doing so if necessary.

Dave Warren

ecretary TUSC Wales Steering Committee

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