WATCH: Jeremy Corbyn says public holiday on election day is a 'good idea'

Written by John Johnston on 29 October 2019 in Diary

Jeremy Corbyn threw his weight behind the suggestion of turning polling day into a public holiday in a bid to boost turnout.

Midlothian MP Danielle Rowley said giving workers the day off could boost turnout, especially in Scotland where it is "very dark" and "very cold" in December.

Speaking during the debate on a possible snap pre-Christmas election, she told MPs: "I look forward to campaigning with him [Jeremy Corbyn] in Scotland in the upcoming election. 

"But as he will know, one of the crucial things in this election is going to be turnout and ensuring we can get as many people out using their votes as possible. 

"In Scotland especially it is very dark, it is very cold, so would he support the idea to have polling day as a public holiday to ensure maximum turnou?"



Mr Corbyn said the plan was a "very good idea" because it meant "everybody could then get along to vote without the problems of being at work at that time."

He added: "It is something that has been discussed before, and I don't know all the amendments that are coming up later on this afternoon... but if that one is included then that would be very welcome indeed."

A polling day holiday would be the fifth extra holiday backed by Mr Corbyn after his party's 2017 manifesto suggested there should be four new UK-wide bank holidays which would fall on each nation's patron saint day.

Labour said the UK had fewer public holidays than all other G20 and EU countries, and would give people the opportunity to celebrate the "four nations that make up our great country". 

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