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Parliamentary Election 2024: Advice for Political Parties and Candidates

Canvassing

Firstly, in relation to political party canvassing and delivery of political leaflets in concierge controlled flats, the agreed position is that access for such activities will be denied unless individual tenants are expecting a visit.

There is no general ban on political parties' canvassing in Stockton High Street or any other public place, which would include political parties using their own stalls (as opposed to the Council's stalls) for such purposes. There is however guidance on structures on the high street available from the Town Centre Markets and Cleansing Manager to whom an application is required before any structures are permitted.

When canvassing or campaigning in this way, care should however be taken to avoid causing any obstruction or potentially committing any public order or similar offences.

The Council has also adopted (in 1982) byelaws for the Good Rule and Governance of the Borough which provide that "no person shall in any street, or public place for the purpose of selling or advertising any article or obtaining custom, tout or importune to the annoyance or obstruction of passengers".

Whilst this is not intended to prohibit political campaigning, such as handing out leaflets, or verbally encouraging people to vote (whether for a specific party or generally), it would probably preclude activities designed to encourage people to sign up as members of a political party, especially if a fee or donation was involved. "Annoyance or obstruction of passengers" would also be a required element of any alleged breach of the byelaw.

Candidates or political parties wishing to use Stockton High Street or any of the other Town Centres controlled by the Council in this way, will need to contact Richard Beddard (Markets and Town Centre Manager) in advance. The contact telephone number is 01642 527745 and the email address is richard.beddard@stockton.gov.uk.

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