LibDems and Observer’s Electoral Law Breaking in North Shropshire

It looks like an Observer scoop may have landed the paper and the LibDems in hot water over a breach in electoral law. It’s entirely common to see ‘leaks’ of “internal polling” during elections for obvious reasons, however an excerpt from the Sunday paper went one step further – referring to “internal polling based on postal votes”:

“According to internal polling based on postal votes, party insiders say the Lib Dem vote has risen from ◼️% to ◼️% in the past fortnight, while the Tory vote has fallen from ◼️% to ◼️%.”

The rules about publishing information to do with postal voting are very handily outlined on the blog of LibDem president and electoral law boffin Mark Pack:

“66A Prohibition on publication of exit polls.

  • No person shall, in the case of an election to which this section applies, publish before the poll is closed—
    • any statement relating to the way in which voters have voted at the election where that statement is (or might reasonably be taken to be) based on information given by voters after they have voted, or
    • any forecast as to the result of the election which is (or might reasonably be taken to be) based on information so given.
  • This section applies to—
    • any parliamentary election; and
    • any local government election in England or Wales.
  • If a person acts in contravention of subsection (1) above, he shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.
  • In this section—
    • “forecast” includes estimate;
    • “publish” means make available to the public at large, or any section of the public, in whatever form and by whatever means;

and any reference to the result of an election is a reference to the result of the election either as a whole or so far as any particular candidate or candidates at the election is or are concerned”

Given it’s reasonable to suggest any statement showing figures based on postal voting returns is in contravention of the above section, both the LibDems’ leak and the Observer look like they’ve breached the rules. To ensure compliance with electoral law, co-conspirators will note Guido has not published the data in the excerpt above…

UPDATE: The LibDems now claim that the data was, in fact, from a “canvas of postal voters” and that “Not a single postal ballot has yet been opened”. A clarification they didn’t ask the Observer to make…

mdi-timer 6 December 2021 @ 15:46 6 Dec 2021 @ 15:46 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
The Guardian’s Royal Memory Loss

Today’s Guardian splashed on revelations the Queen asked ministers to change a proposed law to prevent her private wealth being revealed. The story itself is making a mountain out of a constitutional molehill, with yesterday’s story claiming Geoffrey Howe “appeared to have disclosed the role” of the Queen “in a previously unnoticed speech” in the Commons. “Previously unnoticed” is doing The Guardian an historic disservice, given the day after Howe made the speech they splashed the row on their own front page…

The Times reported specifically on Howe’s speech and the Financial Times wrote “A former senior Conservative Minister said he only came to deal with the Bill after it had been “discussed by the DTI and the Palace.” Give it another 45 years and The Guardian will once again re-cover this “unreported” story for a third time…

mdi-timer 8 February 2021 @ 14:26 8 Feb 2021 @ 14:26 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Dover Port Trade Bounces Back to 90% of Normal, Despite Covid

Despite hysterical claims from some left-wing newspapers that EU exports had dropped by 68% in January, Dover Ports have announced that trade has already bounced back to 90% of volumes typical for this time of year. And that is despite the requirement for hauliers to have a negative Covid test.

In reality, the 68% drop in January was a combination of Covid restrictions, cautious stockpiling before the 31st in case of No Deal, and learning new systems. The further from January 1st things have moved, the more trade flows have been returning to normal. A statement from Dover Port today announced that:

“A month on since the end of the Brexit transition period, the Port of Dover is pleased to already be welcoming over 90% of the freight traffic volumes typical of this time of year following the significant stockpiling experienced before Christmas.”

“The message to hauliers is that as long as you come to Kent border ready and with a negative COVID test, then it won’t be long before you are on your way to France on the shortest ferry crossing.”

Guido is sure the Guardian will inform its readers with a new good news splash tomorrow morning…
mdi-timer 8 February 2021 @ 12:45 8 Feb 2021 @ 12:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Observer’s Top Activist Scientists

Yesterday’s Observer front page cobbled together a group of scientists to claim ‘Cummings has broken trust in Covid policy’.  Unsurprisingly many of the names are better known to the media for their political activism than their scientific work. Guido drilled down into the list and found that out of the 26 names mentioned, 21 of them are either anti-Tory or anti-Brexit. Others are not expert in the field they are commenting upon. A classic case of ‘expert’ activists…

See the full list here:

Read More

mdi-timer 1 June 2020 @ 11:51 1 Jun 2020 @ 11:51 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Yet Another Cadwalladr Correction

Here we go again… Hidden away on page 42 yesterday, The Observer had to publish yet another correction following Carole Cadwalladr’s wild claims about Vote Leave. They have admitted that their Orwell Prize winning super sleuth was wrong to say that Vote Leave’s COO Victoria Woodcock had deleted herself and others on a shared Google drive. Cadwalladr has argued that this was an attempt to hide evidence from the Electoral Commission and ICO, but the Observer admits that

‘we accept that Ms Woodcock did not try to destroy evidence and that allegations of trying to thwart official investigations or pervert the course of justice do not fairly arise against her from this reporting’

This ‘evidence’ was put forward by whistleblowers Shahmir Sanni and Chris Wylie, and reported by Carole as if it was gospel. The Observer has now been forced to admit that this was yet another false claim brought by Zoolander and Walter Mitty. Carole has also been made to delete all of her tweets in which she claimed that Ms Woodcock was trying to destroy evidence.This comes after the Observer had to publish two corrections against the Leave campaign, including accusations that Vote Leave, AggregateIQ and Cambridge Analytica were all working together. The Observer has agreed to pay Ms Woodcock’s legal fees. How much more will they have to fork out for Carole’s conspiracy theory reporting?

Meanwhile, this afternoon Carole tweeted that Piers Morgan “hacked a deal girl’s phone”, referring to Milly Dowler. That was a different paper…

mdi-timer 16 July 2018 @ 17:13 16 Jul 2018 @ 17:13 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Cadwalladr Forced to Delete Erroneous Attack on BBC Editor

Carole Codswallop has done it again. The top Observer sleuth has been forced to delete yet more error-strewn tweets after launching an unhinged attack on the BBC. During her meltdown last night about Isabel Oakeshott being invited onto Question Time, Codswallop launched a pile-on against the Beeb’s head of live political programmes, Rob Burley, demanding an explanation. Her tweet tagging Burley was retweeted more than a thousand times. For hours Burley was under attack from hundreds of tweets from Codswallop’s crazy legion of followers. Just one problem: Burley has nothing to do with Question Time, which is produced by the independent production company Mentorn.

12 hours later, Carole deleted the tweet and apologised.

She also tweeted claiming that, during her Marr appearance with Oakeshott, they didn’t ask her about her Observer story about Shahmir Sanni. They did. That has now been deleted. This is basic stuff…

mdi-timer 14 June 2018 @ 12:25 14 Jun 2018 @ 12:25 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Previous Page Next Page