Upcoming local and EU elections: pre-election guidance for 2019

This pre-election guidance will help organisations make all staff aware of the implications on communications activities of the period prior to the local and European Union (EU) Parliament elections.

Local elections will take place on 2 May 2019 in 249 local authority areas and elections to the EU parliament will take place across the whole of the UK on 23 May.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government and the Local Government Association publish a list of which areas will be holding local elections.

For the local elections, the pre-election period, also known as ‘purdah’, typically begins in local areas six weeks before the election. The latest it could begin this year is 26 March.

For elections to the European Parliament, the pre-election period begins in all areas three weeks before the scheduled elections, and will therefore start on 2 May 2019 (the day of the local elections).

During this time, specific restrictions are placed on the use of public resources and the communication activities of public bodies, civil servants and local government officials. The pre-election period is designed to avoid the actions of public bodies distracting from or having influence on election campaigns.