Conservative Party MP and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab appears to have admitted to a serious breach of electoral law in a new video doing the rounds on social media.
Being interviewed on the potential for losing his seat in a “Portillo moment”, Raab suggests to the interviewer that he should “look at the postal votes”, seemingly having drawn personal confidence from trends he has seen in those votes.
However, if Dominic Raab has indeed been privy to information contained in those votes then a serious criminal offence has been committed.
Postal votes come in two envelopes, an external envelope that contains information on the eligibility of the voter that will be checked against the electoral register and an internal envelope that contains the vote.
Under electoral law, the ballots must remain face down and secret until counting on election night, with the returning officer only checking them for identification purposes. It is legal for a candidate to watch the ballots being opened, but it is expressly forbidden for tallies to be recorded for candidates or to communicate information on trends to those candidates.
The maximum penalty for breaching this law is six months in prison or an unlimited fine.