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Labour candidate tweets postal votes

Twitter gaffe breaks electoral law

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The Labour Party's New Media Campaigns Spokesperson and candidate for Bristol East is in hot water this morning after Tweeting postal vote results last night.

Kerry McCarthy's post was immediately re-tweeted by a Tory blogger with the suggestion that 'someone call the police'. Revealing postal votes could have an impact on voting intentions on the day and is therefore a breach of electoral law.

Avon and Somerset Police have been informed and are investigating.

McCarthy quickly deleted the Tweet and apologised. She could face six months in jail if prosecuted and found guilty.

Postal votes are opened in the presence of candidates' agents. McCarthy insisted the numbers she published were a straw poll, not an official count.

She posted an apology on her blog and said it was a thoughtless thing to do and "not appropriate to put such information in the public domain" - a nice understatement. She also said that it would be illegal for anyone to re-post the content of her original post - which is now widely available online.

She said: "I am not the first person to make such a mistake, and I'm sure I won't be the last, but as you can imagine, I'm cross with myself. Tweet in haste, repent at leisure...."

Anyone wishing to keep an eye out for her next mistake can access her Twitter feed here.

Feel free to comment on this article but please do not repost the results - they are widely available but I don't want to follow Kerry to chokey. ®

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