Labour candidate leaks postal votes via Twitter

Kerry McCarthy

Bristol East is now in the know about how postal voters in the area crossed their ballot papers, thanks to a hasty tweet from a Labour candidate.

Kerry McCarthy, who is standing for Labour in the southwest constituency, boasted proudly via her Twitter account that Labour had received a much higher number of the postal votes than its Conservative and Liberal Democrat competitors.

Under electoral law no-one can announce any election results until after the polls close. Following the Twitter post, McCarthy removed the offending post. However it had already gone viral, being retweeted by many of her 5,835 followers.

The electoral commission confirmed that the punishment for breaking this section of the law could lead to a 5,000 fine or six months imprisonment.

McCarthy released a statement on her website saying: "On hearing the results of a random and unscientific sample of postal votes, I posted them on Twitter. 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."

She added : "Because this was not official information, and no votes had been counted, I thought of it as being akin to canvass returns, i.e. telling people how well we were doing with Labour promises on the doorstep, but I appreciate now it was wrong to do so."

Bristol City Council has now passed the matter onto the police and the case is being looked into.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.