London mayoral candidate Brian Rose was fined in Southwark on Sunday as he was out campaigning.
Police spotted a legally parked bus in Southwark on Sunday morning, quickly descending on the team and issued £200 fines.
Businessman Rose was recording a socially distanced video at the time and claims to have been fined despite showing valid parking and filming permits.
The founder of media firm London Real is using a digital campaign bus, which he claims is Covid-secure, to visit the city’s 32 boroughs ahead of the 6 May election, allowing the public to communicate with him via social media while being kept off the vehicle itself.
Rose has accused the prime minister of “undermining democracy” and warned that vague election guidance threatens a fair vote.
Campaigns are underway
On the same day, Liberal Democrats leader Ed Davey said his party was acting within the law when pushing leaflets through letterboxes, leading to confusion over what is allowed.
Rose said: “If leafleting is safe, then my Covid-secure bus is safe.
“It may well be the safest bus in Britain, particularly when compared with the public transport which many key workers are forced to use.
“We are quite clear that we have broken no laws and that we are behaving in a way that is safe, appropriate and in keeping with both the spirit and the letter of the law.”
The police intervention came as new polling revealed only 11 per cent of senior officials believe the May elections should go ahead.
Labour’s Sadiq Khan is the front runner, leading in prospective polls published by Redfield & Wilton last week.
Cabinet minister Chloe Smith said the government will issue guidance shortly about appropriate campaign conduct, but reminded candidates that face-to-face political activity was forbidden, the very reason Rose’s digital bus was used.
Paul Frost, chief of staff for the campaign, added: “We will be challenging the penalties given to both Mr Rose and members of the team, based on the same guidance that other parties have been using to ensure their campaigns can go ahead.
“In these crucial elections, ensuring a level playing field for all candidates is imperative, something that is evidently being prevented by the actions today of the City of London police force.”