United Kingdom

Articles about voting issues in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

United Kingdom: Election campaign resumes after Manchester attack | Reuters

Britain’s anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) will unveil its policy pledges on Thursday, restarting an election campaign which was suspended after a suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured dozens more in the northern city of Manchester. Britons are due to vote on June 8, with the latest polls, published before Monday’s attack, showing Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives comfortably ahead of the main opposition Labour Party, albeit with a narrowing lead. The two main parties will restart their national campaigns on Friday but UKIP, which was key to securing Britain’s exit from the European Union, said the best response to the attack was to begin as soon as possible. Read More

United Kingdom: How social media filter bubbles and algorithms influence the election | The Guardian

One of the most powerful players in the British election is also one of the most opaque. With just over two weeks to go until voters go to the polls, there are two things every election expert agrees on: what happens on social media, and Facebook in particular, will have an enormous effect on how the country votes; and no one has any clue how to measure what’s actually happening there. “Many of us wish we could study Facebook,” said Prof Philip Howard, of the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute, “but we can’t, because they really don’t share anything.” Howard is leading a team of researchers studying “computational propaganda” at the university, attempting to shine a light on the ways automated accounts are used to alter debate online. Read More

United Kingdom: Leave.EU under investigation over EU referendum spending | The Guardian

The Electoral Commission has launched an investigation into “potential offences” by Leave.EU over its spending during last year’s EU referendum campaign. The campaign group, which was headed by Nigel Farage and the businessman Arron Banks, is understood to have worked with the data firm Cambridge Analytica, which uses social media to influence voters. Cambridge Analytica’s involvement was not declared to the election watchdog, which has concluded that Leave.EU has a case to answer. If the commission decides that political spending laws have been breached, it can report the campaign group to the police. Read More

United Kingdom: Foreign minister says Russia may try to interfere in election | Reuters

There is a “realistic possibility” Russia might try to interfere in Britain’s national election next month, according to Boris Johnson, Britain’s foreign secretary. In an interview with The Telegraph newspaper published on Saturday, the Conservative politician also said Russian president Vladimir Putin would “rejoice” if Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party won the June 8 election. Referring to Putin, Johnson said: “Clearly we think that is what he did in America, it’s blatantly obvious that’s what he did in France [where incoming president Emmanuel Macron’s emails were hacked], in the western Balkans he is up to all sorts of sordid enterprises, so we have to be vigilant.” Read More

United Kingdom: Follow the data: does a legal document link Brexit campaigns to US billionaire? | The Guardian

On 18 November 2015, the British press gathered in a hall in Westminster to witness the official launch of Leave.EU. Nigel Farage, the campaign’s figurehead, was banished to the back of the room and instead an American political strategist, Gerry Gunster, took centre stage and explained its strategy. “The one thing that I know is data,” he said. “Numbers do not lie. I’m going to follow the data.” Eighteen months on, it’s this same insight – to follow the data – that is the key to unlocking what really happened behind the scenes of the Leave campaign. On the surface, the two main campaigns, Leave.EU and Vote Leave, hated one other. Their leading lights, Farage and Boris Johnson, were sworn enemies for the duration of the referendum. The two campaigns bitterly refused even to share a platform. Read More

United Kingdom: Labour Party Manifesto Leaked Prior to General Election | The Atlantic

A leaked copy of the British Labour Party’s manifesto reveals a number of policy changes that could be implemented in the U.K. if the party wins the upcoming general election on June 8. The document, first obtained Wednesday by the Daily Telegraph, contains information regarding the Labour Party’s proposals for Brexit, along with the party’s stance on national defense, tuition fees, and nuclear weapons, among other issues. While the manifesto still awaits signatures from dozens of party members, it is expected to receive final approval on Thursday. Read More

United Kingdom: Tory candidates did nothing wrong on election expenses, May claims | The Guardian

No criminal charges will be brought against more than 20 Conservative MPs over the national party’s failure to accurately declare campaign spending on a battlebus tour at the 2015 election. The Crown Prosecution Service said their constituency spending declarations “may have been inaccurate” but concluded there was insufficient evidence to prove dishonesty or bring a criminal case against the MPs and their agents. At issue was whether the costs of a Conservative campaign battlebus should have been accounted for by local campaigns where the legal spending limits are tighter at between about £11,000 and £16,000, depending on the size of the constituency. Read More

United Kingdom: Independence is an unwanted election challenge for Scottish nationalists | Reuters

Calum Kerr, a parliamentarian from the Scottish National Party (SNP), is having to work hard to get his message across. As he defends a wafer-thin majority in Britain’s June 8 election, he wants to focus on issues directly affecting his farming constituency bordering England, with its struggling economy that may suffer further when Britain leaves the European Union. But those issues are being drowned out by the often shrill debate about Scotland’s right to another vote on independence from Britain. Scots rejected secession by 10 points in a 2014 referendum and polls show most still do not support it. “This election is not about independence at all,” said Kerr, who wants to get away from the topic as he campaigns for votes. “It’s about getting the voice of the Borders heard and it is all about Brexit, which is amplified in the rural context.” Read More

Editorials: Why are British voters in the dark about this week’s elections? | Joe Mitchell/The Guardian

ity the local elections, overshadowed again. Last year it was the EU referendum, this year it’s a general election. Voters will make the short walk to a polling station on Thursday more out of duty than of passion. Because information is so sparse on these elections, voters will cast their ballots without truly knowing what or who they are voting for. The UK will miss yet another opportunity to improve our trust in politicians, to boost our sense of being engaged in political decisions and to strengthen our belief in our ability to create change. Any potential “Brexit bump” in political interest and awareness is unlikely: the Hansard Society’s recent audit of political engagement shows interest in, and knowledge of, politics falling to around 50%. Just 31% of citizens say they are satisfied with our system of governance. Read More

United Kingdom: Cornelia Parker named as official artist of 2017 general election | The Guardian

Cornelia Parker, who once said of her art, “I resurrect things that have been killed off,” has been named the official artist for the 2017 general election, and is the first woman to take on the role. Politicians who study the CV of the Turner prize-nominated Royal Academy member, whose work is in many national and international collections, may be alarmed to note that it has often involved spectacular acts of destruction of her subjects. She called in the army to help her blow up a shed, later exhibited as suspended fragments as if in mid-explosion, and used part of the mechanism of Tower Bridge to flatten 54 brass band instruments in Breathless, a commission for the V&A. Last year she dismantled an old American barn and reconstructed it as the sinister Bates mansion from the film Psycho, as an installation on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Read More