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“We take community safety very seriously. As Bishopstoke’s independent councillors, Lou Parker-Jones, Ray Dean and myself, together with parish councillors Anne Dean and Johanna Francis, took the decision last March that we would not undertake any activity that we felt might compromise local residents. This included stopping our newsletters and our drop-in surgeries.

Some of our volunteer leaflet deliverers have been shielding, as have some of us. We know how difficult many of you have found the last year. It simply felt wrong to be pushing leaflets through thousands of letterboxes, so we put our newsletters on hold. We continue to place people before politics.

In January, the Government made it clear that “restrictions do not support door to door campaigning or leafleting by individual party activists.”

Although local elections are planned for May, we have asked Paul Holmes MP to clarify what campaigning activity will be permitted. We have also stressed our view that permitting activity that would compromise the health of the residents that candidates seek to represent would be unacceptable. We await further guidance from the Government.

As independents, we do not have the funds for advertising in the same way as political parties. Until we feel that we can safely deliver newsletters we will restrict ourselves to social media and this website. We are looking into launching an email newsletter. There is so much to tell you as we are working hard for Bishopstoke with Eastleigh Borough Council and Bishopstoke Parish Council.

In the meantime, we are following the guidance to stay at home. Do get in touch – we’d love to hear from you all.” Councillor Gin Tidridge

BTW – the photo was taken in 2019!