I first saw this piece of news last night Politicial Penguin . The papers are reporting today that the Tories are in trouble over the leak of the postal ballot result of today’s Ealing Southall by-election.
Telegraph diarist Jonathan Isaby posted details of the postal ballot on his blog last night. He wrote: "[A] source inside the Tory campaign [in Ealing] reports that it was looking incredibly close, with them calculating the main parties' tallies as follows: ..." The post was taken down soon after. By law, political parties are allowed representatives to oversee the validation process, however any release of an indication of how the vote is going is strictly prohibited on the grounds that it could influence subsequent votes. The offence is punishable by up to six months in prison. The Conservative party was unavailable for comment last night.
The news is just another turn in the Ealing Southall campaign. We have seen Labour councillors defect to the Tories (including an unsuccessful prospective candidate) and the news that the Tory candidate donated money to Labour just before he was adopted as a candidate.