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Labour politicians across West Yorkshire add their voices to Saving General Election Night

SaveElectionNight graphic Given the cross-party nature of the Save General Election Night campaign, I was invited this morning to give an update on how the campaign is going by our counterparts at LabourList, so please read my post there for a brief summary of the first five days of the campaign.

But this afternoon, I have been alerted to growing disquiet in West Yorkshire over the prospect of many marginal constituencies delaying their counts until the Friday. The returning officers at several councils in the county are yet to announce a final decision, but are known to be very keen to count on the Friday rather than the Thurday.

West Yorkshire is a key battleground for the next general election, with seats like Batley and Spen, Colne Valley, Dewsbury, Elmet and Rothwell, Pudsey and several of the Leeds constituencies all among seats that the Conservatives must win in order to win an overall majority (plus the new seat Ed Balls is contesting, Morley and Outwood, is there). If they, along with a number of other marginals around the country, are not counted on the Thursday night, the overall national result could well also remain in the balance until the Friday lunchtime.

This has prompted a string of Labour politicians in West Yorkshire to add their backing to the aim of the Save General Election night campaign, with one MP going so far as to suggest that primary legislation might need to be passed in order to ensure the Thursday night count.

The following quotes all come from tonight Leeds Evening Post:

Fabian Hamilton MP (Leeds North East): "It would completely destroy the atmosphere of the election if the count is done the following day. I do feel sorry for the staff who have to work long hours but it's not beyond the wit of local authorities to ensure that those staff who do the counting during the night are not the same people who are the tellers at the polling stations. There is no excuse – if they do not do it then Parliament needs to step in."

Mary Creagh MP (Wakefield): "If people think that forming a government is important, then it is important that we have a government from day one, not day two."

George Mudie MP (Leeds East): "I am a traditionalist in terms of thinking that the election night is part of the process. It is something that brings people in to view politics when they would not normally do so."

Rachel Reeves (Labour PPC for Leeds West): "We want to engage with people in politics and one of the things that does engage people is sitting up on election night and watching the results. If they have to wait until the next day when people are at work they will not be able to participate in that and it will be a shame for democracy and the democratic process. People have a right to have an MP by the Friday morning."

Jonathan Isaby

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