Mayor of London candidate Brian Rose fined for lockdown breach

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image captionBrian Rose was filming promotional material for his campaign in Southwark when police intervened

An independent candidate vying to be London's next mayor has been fined by police for breaking lockdown rules.

Former Wall Street banker Brian Rose was filming promotional material for his campaign in Southwark on Sunday when police intervened.

Mr Rose said he and six of his staff were each fined £200 and were told "campaigning was not a necessary reason" for being out.

He described confusion over campaign rules as "an affront to democracy".

The City of London Police force said restrictions "have no exemption for canvassing".

A spokesman for the force added: "Anyone canvassing can expect the police to enforce the legislation, which could include issuing fines."

Mr Rose presents a media platform called London Real, where he hosts guests including conspiracy theorist David Icke.

The London mayoral election is set to take place on 6 May, although the date is being kept under review due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this month, minister Chloe Smith said the bar for postponing elections was "quite high" and that the government had been working to ensure the polls could open in a "Covid-secure manner".

'Incredibly worrying'

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey defended his party earlier this month for continuing to deliver campaign leaflets during lockdown.

He said the work had been carried out by volunteers and volunteering was exempt from current restrictions.

Mr Rose's office said it would be challenging the fines "based on the same guidance that other parties have been using", the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) said.

The podcaster said he "understood" police have a "difficult job to do", but added it was "imperative that free and fair elections can take place on 6 May".

He said: "With an unelected mayor currently heading up our city for the past year, including its police force, it is incredibly worrying that democracy is being eroded in this way, while the mayor's own team continue to campaign."

Guidance from the government about "appropriate conduct" during campaigning is expected soon, added the LDRS.

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