Twitter: Used illegally by Labour MP during election

A Labour party frontbencher has been given a caution by police as she illegally revealed election results on her Twitter account during this years general election.

Kerry McCarthy, the Bristol East MP used the microblogging site to give details of postal votes in April. According to The Guardian, McCarthy revealed to thousands of her followers that “an early batch showed Labour receiving far more support in her constituency than the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats”. The MP backed up these claims with some official figures.

After this news was leaked, masses of people replied to tell McCarthy that what she had done was against the law and it was illegal to disclose general election results before the final 6 May count. The tweets were immediately removed from the site and the MP admitted she had been “thoughtless”. Unfortunately the revelation of these results were to no avail as the Labour party lost out to the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government.

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. For committing this crime the punishment is either up to 6 months in jail or a £5,000 fine. It has now become apparent that the shadow Treasury minister has accepted a police caution.

What do you think of announcements on Twitter made by people in power? Are they just inviting trouble? Let us know your thoughts on this matter by leaving a comment.

  • Mike

    New Labour parachuted in MP Kerry McCarthy should spend more time engaging with real people in her constituency instead of twittering nonsense and drivel on Twitter.