Why Kerry McCarthy Must Stand Down
Bristol24-7 has this story on McCarthy’s breach of electoral law yesterday:
Bristol East Labour MP Kerry McCarthy, Gordon Brown’s “Twitter Tsar”, has apologised for revealing a sample of postal votes on the social networking website.
Ms McCarthy breached electoral law by giving details of a constituency postal vote count to her 5,700 followers on Twitter.
Last night the matter was referred by Bristol City Council to Avon and Somerset police, who will decide whether or not to charge the government whip and former solicitor.
The candidate, who has been charged by the Labour party with managing and encouraging on-message tweets, deleted the message within minutes, and apologised.
“On hearing the results of a random and unscientific sample of postal votes, I posted them on Twitter,” she said.
“It was a thoughtless thing to do, and I very quickly realised that it was not appropriate to put such information in the public domain.
“Because this was not official information, and no votes had been counted, I thought of it as being akin to canvass returns, ie telling people how well we were doing with Labour promises on the doorstep, but I appreciate now it was wrong to do so.”
Section 66 of the 1983 Representation of the People Act forbids “any statement relating to the way in which voters have voted at the election” before polls close.
McCarthy is a solicitor and as such you would expect her to be aware of the laws governing elections, but then again, we have Gordon Brown’s pet Attorney General Patrician Scotland, who breaks the laws she herself gets on the statute books; so you can’t really expect too much law abiding from those lower down the food chain in the Labour Party.
The damage was done the moment the allegedly media savvy McCarthy clicked the Tweet button, deleting the Tweet and saying I’m sorry really does not cut much ice.
The Tweet was caught saved and is all over the Internet like fleas on a hedgehog, Aardvark has removed the numbers from Tweets so that this blog does not break the law.
The full unredacted Tweets are there for all to see with the numbers of actual votes cast, they will doubtless be seen by voters in Bristol East and there is the chance they could influence people’s choice of vote, McCarthy can no longer be considered to be on the same playing field as the other PPCs.
If Avon and Somerset Police decide there is a case to answer then McCarthy has no option but to stand down, her position would be untenable.
Either way there is a big question hanging over the election in Bristol East and the only way to avoid the rotten borough politics of Labour is for Kerry McCarthy to go.
* * * Updated * * *
There have been other complaints made to Police today about irregularities with Labour and postal votes, namely Derby and Tower Hamlets.
Voters dont have to put up with situation and do nothing as Ollie Cromwell points out on The Red Rag blog:
McCarthy has been reported to the police and they will no doubt follow due process, however given this candidate has broken the law and has interfered with the electoral process any win for her should not be allowed to stand. The returning officer should be encouraged to seek urgent legal advice to identify what can be done to prevent a result being declared in favour of a candidate who has committed a crime to influence the result.
So why not drop a line to Stephen McNamara, Acting Returning Officer for Bristol East.
Posted on April 30, 2010, in General Election, Labour, Labour Lies and Smears, Labour MP Caught Out and tagged Kerry McCarthy, labour party, Law Breaking, Postal Votes. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.