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Adam Boulton and Sky News back the Save General Election Night campaign as support hits 2,500 people

Noon update: Adam Boulton has blogged about the campaign here

SaveElectionNight graphic Yesterday was another busy day for the cross-party campaign to Save General Election Night. It secured the official backing of Tory Party chairman Eric Pickles on behalf of the Conservative Party, which ensured our efforts received more coverage on the BBC website and a hit in this morning's Daily Telegraph.

We posted the full text of Eric Pickles' letter to Jack Straw on the site, in which he called for all parties to work together for a consensus to ensure that the votes cast at the next general election are counted on the Thursday night.

Picture 12 This morning I can reveal that the campaign has secured the support of the political editor of Sky News, Adam Boulton, on behalf of the whole Sky News team. He sends us this message:

“One of the beauties of the British Political system is its crispness. We all know that real people can count votes quicker than machines. The excitement of finding out live who is going to govern us just a few hours after polls close has always been the best bit of our election night programmes on Sky News. Pull your fingers out returning officers! Sky News backs the Save General Election Night campaign 100%.”

The Facebook group has just signed up its 2,500th supporter and now includes feedback from members relating to over 160 constituencies (in the latest news section). Whilst I'm delighted that 83 have confirmed they are counting on the Thursday night, and so far only ten have confirmed they currently intend counting on the Friday, there are 70 constituencies which are yet to say either way - many of which are considering the Friday option.

That demonstrates the urgent need for us to continue making the case for the Thursday count - and also that there are still a large number of constituencies for which we have no information. Can I repeat my plea for you to get in touch with your local council, find out their intentions and let me know what you discover.

The issue has now caught the attention of several regional newspapers, with coverage in the Western Morning News, Gloucestershire Echo and Western Mail. I will also be writing a piece for the Guardian's Comment is Free website later today.

Following on from my appearance on Radio 4's PM programme on Monday, yesterday's programme featured a presiding officer from counts in Leicestershire, Rosalind Willatts, being interviewed to defend those wanting to switch to Friday counts. Her arguments were, quite frankly, pathetic. Click here (54 minutes, 45 seconds in) to listen - the link will be live for seven days.

Newcastle Conservatives have started to mobilise in their opposition to the council's decision there to count on the Friday. Meanwhile, Deidre Alden, a Birmingham councillor and parliamentary candidate, raised the campaign on the floor of a full meeting of Birmingham City Council yesterday. She invited the deputy leader of the council to guarantee that the city's ten parliamentary seats would continue to count on the Thursday night at the next election. As Cllr Alden reports on her blog, he said that there was “no reason why Birmingham  should not continue its proud tradition of counting on the night” and confirmed that it would continue to do so. Great news!

Let me know what you are doing in your area to fight to save general election night.

Check back here and at the Facebook group for regular updates - and invite all your friends to join the Facebook group if you are yet to do so!

Jonathan Isaby

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