THE Clackmannanshire East Ward by-election was postponed at the last possible minute as the coronavirus outbreak continues to cause disruption in the Wee County.

An announcement was posted on the Clacks Council website last Wednesday, March 18 at 6.10pm, one day before the election was due to take place.

Returning Officer Nikki Bridle received an urgent communication from the Cabinet Office.

The statement read: "It would be both reasonable and consistent with the national position for a returning officer to suspend any poll scheduled within this period, including those due to take place tomorrow, Thursday March 19.

"The government will give its full support to returning officers who make the decision to suspend their polls.

"The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have provided assurance that criminal prosecution in these circumstances is highly unlikely."

Five candidates were running for election, representing the Greens, Liberal Democrats, Conservatives, Labour and SNP.

Carolynne Hunter, who was running for Labour, thinks the postponement was the right thing to do.
She told the Advertiser: "I want everyone to be safe in the community. I'm all about being safe so I think it was the best option.

"I do intend to stand when it starts up again. I want to be part of the huge amount of work that will need to be done in the community.

"Even if I'm not elected I still want to be part of that. I want to be part of helping vulnerable people as much as I can."

Green candidate Marion Robertson says it's unfortunate the decision was made at the very last minute.
She said: "These are unprecedented times.

"I just feel really bad for council staff who are stretched anyway and have put effort, as they always do, into making the election happen smoothly. I feel resources from that end have probably been misspent."

Stephen Leitch, who was running for the SNP, added: "It is a very difficult circumstance we are in so I think ultimately postponing it was the right decision.

"The risks are high, in some ways what has been announced at national level, its difficult for older people to come out.

"If it had gone ahead the turnout would have been very, very low."

At present, the by-election has not been rescheduled as various events throughout the Wee County continue to be postponed or cancelled.