Nativity plays could be cancelled in Scotland for December general election

Christmas plays may need to be cancelled as village and school halls are used for polling stations
Christmas plays may need to be cancelled as village and school halls are used for polling stations
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Nativity plays could need to be rescheduled or even cancelled across Scotland if a general election goes ahead in December, it has been warned.

The Electoral Commission has raised concerns with the Cabinet Office about the logistical problems linked to a pre-Christmas election.

A Christmas nativity play

A Christmas nativity play

And among those concerns is advice that schools may need to reschedule nativity plays to make way for polling stations.

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Contingency plans would also be needed in the event of bad winter weather, with extra lighting hired for venues where people are set to vote, ministers have been warned.

Changes to the electoral register due to come into effect on 1 December would also create an added administrative headache.

Peter Stanyon, chief executive of the Association of Electoral Administrators, said: "A December poll does present challenges that an election in May would not."

The Cabinet Office was forced to last week deny that Sir Mark Sedwill, head of the Civil Service, has flagged concerns with Downing Street over the potential hurdles to holding an election after 12 December.

Village halls and function rooms are widely booked for events, including nativity plays, in the lead-up to Christmas.

There must be a minimum 25-day period between an election being called and polling day under UK law.

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Mr Stanyon said his body's concerns had been raised with the Cabinet Office.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned he will push for a snap general election if he is forced to accept a lengthy delay to Britain's departure, potentially into the new year.

However there are signs of divisions among ministers and senior No 10 advisers over whether to press for a December poll.