Labour NEC Accused of Safe Seats Stitch Up

Multiple Labour sources have accused the party’s NEC of stitching up safe seats for committee members, with Keith Vaz in the frame for fixing selections for his friends. When there is a late retirement in the run up to an election, Labour has a standard procedure where an NEC sub-committee chooses the candidates to go forward for selection. This special selections panel is usually put into place close to the election for last minute selections only, however Guido is told that this time it was implemented in January. The NEC deciding that any constituency where the MP stood down after 10 December last year not have local shortlisting powers and the NEC rather than their local party would handle the selections.  One Labour source describes this as “earlier than ever”, another as “way too early”, noting there is “still plenty of time to run proper selections”Why the change from convention?

Since the special NEC panel was set up, NEC members are mysteriously being selected for safe seats all over the place. NEC member Conor McGinn was put on the shortlist for the uber-safe seat of St. Helen’s North, winning the selection two weeks ago. McGinn represents the same division on the NEC as Vaz.

As Guido reported yesterday, NEC member and Unite agitator Rachael Maskell has just been selected in York Central in acrimonious circumstances.

Meanwhile the selection in Edmonton, where Andy Love has retired, takes place this weekend. At the moment the favourite is Kate Osamor, surprise surprise, yet another NEC member. Three NEC members put forward for safe seats just weeks after the NEC special selections panel was set up – more than a little fishy…

‘Facebook Constituency’ Could Increase Turnout By 77,000

facebook-voting-header

The Electoral Commission are making a lot of noise today about their partnership with Facebook ahead of the general election. On Thursday Facebook will push a notification onto the timelines of its 35 million active British users, telling them that they can register online to vote. Users will then be able to share with their friends that they have registered.

Additionally, the Electoral Commission will cough up for ad space on Facebook, encouraging young people to vote.

Facebook were heavily involved in the last US election and a similar project in which they encouraged US voters to go out and vote was hailed in the media as a great success after a study led by the University of California, San Diego estimated it increased voter turnout by 340,000. If Facebook could bring out that same proportion of extra voters here, by Techno Guido’s calculations they would increase voter turnout by 77,197 – which is almost exactly the size of the of electorate in the constituency of Tewkesbury.

A whole constituency worth of young voters. No wonder politicians are cosying up to them

How Many Days Until the Election?

This reflects a lot of current political reporting…

LibDems’ Coalicious Election Poster

It is 100 days until the election and the LibDems are marking the occasion by releasing this new poster, which they helpfully explain is “deliberately playing on a previous Conservative poster”. See what they did there…

All well and good, but is it a German road?

Electoral Commission Trying to Regulate Blogs:
Notifies Guido, ConservativeHome, LabourList & LibDemVoice

ec-pef

The Electoral Commission has written to Guido, ConservativeHome, LabourList and LibDemVoice to provide them with “guidance” to bring them into line with the Putinesque provisions of the new Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014.

Mark Ferguson at LabourList says

“It seems particularly bizarre (and that’s being generous) that there’s one law for “newspapers and periodicals” and another for “websites”. Perhaps the government are finding this new-fangled internet thing very confusing. We’re still working through what the most appropriate response is to this dreadful law – more worthy of a banana-Republic than a democracy – that clamps down on campaigning and free speech at a time when it’s needed most, election time. Whatever response we decide on though, we will not be submitting ourselves to any form of regulation that stops us from writing, reporting and commenting on the election campaign as we see fit.”

ConservativeHome’s editor Paul Goodman tells Guido whilst sorrowfully shaking his head, that he feels the site has no alternative, given the terms of the Lobbying Act, but to “run some pieces by senior Labour MPs during the election campaign”.

After ringing round it seems that other political blogs like the Spectator’s CoffeeHouse and PoliticalBetting.com have not being offered “guidance” by the Electoral Commission. Guido has written back to the Electoral Commission:

Dear Electoral Commission,

Thanks, but we’re not registering with you and
we’re not going to pay any attention to your rules.

Yours in freedom,

Paul Staines
Editor Guido Fawkes’ Blog

Guido has no intention of registering with the Electoral Commission or reporting a penny of spending or anything else to them. This authoritarian law is a nonsense. If you read the guidance it should apply to newspapers. We haven’t just rejected statutory control of the printed press by one regulator for political control of digital media by another…

See: Electoral Commission letter in full [PDF]

Tory Candidate Fury Mounting at “Slack” CCHQ

Given that four months out the Tories still have 81 candidates to select in England, plus all of Northern Ireland still to do, you might have thought it would be all hands t’mill over at the CCHQ candidates department. Apparently not.

According to the ‘out of office’ Gareth Fox – Head of Candidate Selection – it’s still holiday season:

“Thank you for your email, I am currently on leave until 12th January and I will respond when I return.”

Tory sources say everything is tickety boo and Fox is ‘around’ – a fact disputed by angry potential PPCs unable to get an answer to calls and emails. “This man is about as popular as herpes,” writes one co-conspiratorial candidate to Guido…

Rich’s 2015 Election View

General Election Campaign Officially Starts Today

vote

Today is the day election spending rules kick in and the campaign for 2015 officially begins. Here are the key dates for your diary:

  • December 19: Long campaign begins. Candidate spending limited to £30,700, plus 9p per voter in county (rural) constituencies, and 6p per voter in borough (urban) constituencies.
  • January 5: House returns from Christmas recess.
  • February 12-23: February recess.
  • March 18: George Osborne delivers the final budget of the parliament. He only has a few working days to get it through before…
  • March 30: Parliament dissolves. Short campaign begins. Spending restrictions tightened to £8,700, plus 9p per voter in county constituencies and 6p per voter in borough constituencies.
  • May 7: Election day.

138 days to go…

LibDems Spent £1.5 Million on Winning One Euro Seat

The Electoral Commission today reveals how much each party spent on their European election campaigns. The big bucks splashed by the Tories and UKIP meant they paid six figures for each seat won. Labour got best value for money, spending […]

Labour Oppositions Never Gain Ground in Final Six Months

Fascinating analysis on ConHome showing how Labour’s poll ratings six months out from elections have historically compared with the final election result. Guido’s graph above illustrates how “Labour consistently end up winning fewer votes in the general election than the […]

Lucy Powell’s Election Expertise

Lucy Powell’s first day in charge of Labour’s election campaign did not do much to quell colleagues’ fears she is not up to the job. At the prime time of 11pm last night Powell sent out her first mass email […]

UKIP Well Short in South Yorkshire

Labour: 50.02%

UKIP: 31.66%

Tories: 12.52%

English Democrats: 5.8%

Massive electorate. Limited ground operation. Warnings for UKIP here ahead of next year.[…]



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Quote of the Day

Andrew Neil on the dying Dead Tree Press

“I read more bloggers now than mainstream columnists, because they’ve got more interesting things to say. Too many columnists today make you think, ‘Yeah, I think you’ve said that 10 times before and I’ve just noticed your column has not go a single fact in it’”.

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