“Why a snap election? Ask the 30 tories facing criminal charges…” says Daily Mail article

If the Daily Mail says this, then it seems things are much worse than they appear with the election fraud scandL

“This is a flap election, not a snap election. It has been called to get the Government out of what might be serious legal trouble. I am amazed this has not attracted more attention.

It is this simple. The Crown Prosecution Service is now looking at the cases of 30, yes 30, Tory MPs and agents, who have been investigated for breaking spending rules at the last General Election.

The allegations have been probed by 14 police forces after claims that the Conservatives’ ‘battlebus’ campaign broke legal spending limits in several key marginal seats.

The Tories have already been in deep trouble over their new election techniques, where busloads of outsiders flood into winnable seats to round up crucial extra votes. This was a way of making up for the Tory party’s severe loss of active members, who used to do this donkey work. But it is sailing very close to the legal wind.

Last month they were hit by the Electoral Commission with a record £70,000 fine – the maximum – for failing to declare their spending. The forces involved are Avon & Somerset, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon & Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, West Mercia, West Midlands, West Yorkshire and the Met.

These cases are likely to result in some charges (I have no idea how many) in the next few weeks, probably just before polling day. Trials, assuming these go ahead, will be much later in the year and might not reach verdicts until well into 2018.

If there had been no election, any convictions could have meant MPs found guilty being forced to stand down, and elections being rerun. A General Election makes this much less of a threat, especially if Mrs May manages to increase her meagre majority.

This menace has been worrying the Cabinet for some months, as it has become clear it will not go away. And it is a far better explanation of the Prime Minister’s change of heart than her rather weird and incoherent speech in Downing Street. I happen to think she is a naturally truthful person and meant what she said when she previously declared several times that she was going to stay on till 2020.

But the expenses allegations, which started as a cloud on the horizon no bigger than a man’s hand, have grown and grown. I suspect her advisers have been telling her she cannot risk them coming into the open late in a Parliament when, perhaps, the economy is not doing well, or EU negotiations are going badly or Labour has a new leader.

As a result of this semi-secret crisis, the Tory campaign this time will have to be a good deal more cautious about such things, which may weaken it, especially if the campaign goes wrong – and this is not impossible.

Even now the affair could be highly damaging – but early in a new Parliament, with a secure majority, the Government should be able to weather it far better than if Mrs May had soldiered on. But all elections are risks. It is amazing how often governments lose control of them.

Politics in this country are a good deal less solid and stable than they seem.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-4436518/PETER-HITCHENS-snap-election.html

Many young people registering to vote – more needed!

Almost 350,000 people have registered to vote since Tuesday’s surprise announcement that there would be a general election on 8 June.

The highest number of registrations was on the day itself, with 147,000 people registering online after Theresa May fired the election starting gun, along with 3,364 paper forms being submitted.

This was the biggest total recorded for a single day since the EU referendum campaign in 2016.

And the number of young people registering is the highest of any age group.” …
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-39678859

Register to vote by 22 May in General Election

Anyone planning to vote in June’s general election who isn’t yet on the electoral roll has only until Monday 22 May to register.

You’re eligible to vote in the 8 June general election if:

You’re a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen aged 18 or over who is currently living in the UK.

You’re a British citizen aged 18 or over who’s been registered to vote in the UK in the past 15 years.

However, simply being eligible to vote doesn’t mean you’re actualnly able to you have to register by 11.59pm on Monday 22 May, otherwise you won’t be able to vote in the general election.

In addition to giving you a vote, registering boosts your chances of getting credit, as lenders can use the electoral roll to check out potential borrowers. See our Credit Scores guide for more on this and other tips on how to boost your score.

How to register

Check if you’re registered to vote by getting in touch with your local authority. Enter your postcode on Gov.uk to find your local electoral registration office and contact it directly.

If you were registered for last June’s Brexit referendum or are for the local elections on Thursday 4 May this year, AND you still live at the same address, you should already be registered to vote but if not, you need to register by Monday 22 May.

If you’re not on the electoral roll, visit Gov.uk to register to vote in England, Scotland and Wales. Registering online takes about five minutes.

Or you can download a form to register by post, which you’ll need to send to your local electoral registration office, but make sure it arrives by 22 May.

To register in Northern Ireland, visit the Your Vote Matters website to download the form and return it to your local area electoral office.

Postal and proxy votes

If you’re already registered to vote in person and you wish to switch to a postal vote or a proxy vote (where a voter nominates a trusted person to cast a vote on their behalf) in time for the general election, there are separate deadlines for changing your voting method.

To switch to a postal vote, you’ll need to register by 5pm on Tuesday 23 May. If you’re opting for a proxy vote, the deadline is 5pm on Wednesday 31 May.

If you’re in England, Scotland or Wales, you can change your voting preferences by downloading a postal vote or proxy vote form from Gov.uk. To do this in Northern Ireland, different forms are required.

https://t.co/ynrYmAVfAb

Claire Wright asks for “army of helpers” for bid to challenge sitting MP

An army of helpers are required if I am to run as a parliamentary candidate again!

I am seriously considering putting my hat in the ring as an Independent candidate in the 8 June General Election.

I have been for many years, deeply concerned at this government’s attitude towards public services, especially the NHS, social care and education, all of which are underfunded and hugely struggling, especially in Devon.

Devon County Council has seen over half its budgets disappear due to austerity measures. Many services have been cut back, or lost as a result.

I am also concerned about the effect of Brexit on the vast amount of land and species currently highly protected under EU legislation. This is at risk of not being properly protected as we leave the EU.

In Devon alone, there are 122 sites across 115,000 hectares, including at Woodbury and Aylesbeare Commons.

The transfer of this EU legislation to UK law needs carefully monitoring.

Since Tuesday morning I have received hundreds of messages of support and offers of help if I decide to run again, which has been touching and inspiring. This has forced me to consider my options carefully.

To run a successful campaign at such short notice, however, I need an army of leafleters and helpers.

If enough people come forward to offer practical help, I will be able to run.

If you are able to help, please contact me at

claire@claire-wright.org

stating relevant skills you have and how you can help.

Thank you.

NHS a major concern for voters

“Health is always discussed on the doorsteps in general election campaigns.
Labour has long seen the NHS as its defining electoral issue.

The Conservatives have tried hard to demonstrate their commitment with pledges in recent years of above-inflation investment.

But how much difference will it make this time in a campaign that is sure to be dominated by Brexit?

Polling suggests the state of the NHS is high on people’s list of concerns.
An Ipsos/Mori survey in January in association with the Economist showed that 49% of respondents considered it to be one of the biggest issues facing Britain, up nine percentage points since December and the highest level recorded since April 2003.

This was slightly ahead of the proportion (41%) seeing the EU and Brexit as a major issue. Immigration was next on the list, though lower than in December.

The same survey just before the general election in May 2015 had the economy, the NHS and immigration bunched quite closely together as issues of the highest public concern.

The latest snapshot has the NHS pulling ahead of both. But the key question is whether what people tell the pollsters are key issues translates into voting intentions.

The King’s Fund think tank recently analysed the British Social Attitudes survey taken across England, Scotland and Wales and found that public satisfaction with the NHS was high at 63%, little changed from 2015.
It is worth pointing out, though, that this polling was carried out in the summer and early autumn of 2016 before the latest bout of winter pressures.
The general election health debate will be about England as governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland run their health services and they have no elections this time.

Labour made health a central plank of its 2015 election campaign. Andy Burnham, then the party’s health spokesman, spoke out forcefully about the pressures on hospitals over the preceding winter. He also accused the Conservatives of encouraging privatisation of the NHS, which they in turn denied.

But this failed to cut through, as the Tories achieved a majority.
This time Labour is stressing that health will again be central to its campaigning effort.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39640624