Friday, December 17, 2010

Pirate Party leader to stand in Oldham by-election on pro-WikiLeaks platform

Standing: Pirate Party UK leader Loz Kaye (Picture: Tim Dobson, Flickr)
The leader of the UK Pirate Party, Loz Kaye, has announced he will stand in the upcoming by-election in Oldham East and Saddleworth - campaigning on a pro-WikiLeaks platform of government transparency and internet freedoms.

40-year-old Kaye said he will stand in the election, scheduled for January 13, because ‘freedom of information on the Internet should be a fundamental right in the 21st century.’

The by-election was triggered when high court judges ruling that the winning Labour candidate, former Labour minister Phil Woolas, had broken election law by knowingly making false statements about his Lib Dem opponent. The court struck out the result and barred Woolas from standing again, leading to the upcoming re-run.

The Pirate Party UK was formed in 2009, initially to campaign on issues of copyright reform and internet freedoms, following the electoral success of the Swedish Pirate Party.

Kaye says that in the upcoming election, the party’s focus will be on freedom of speech and transparency, following the WikiLeaks affair. He said: ‘We are the only party which has had the courage to openly support Wikileaks, and we will continue to fight for the freedom of speech and of the press that are required in a functioning representative democracy.’

The party criticised the timing of the election, saying that it ‘seems designed to minimize voter engagement.’

The party's Campaigns Officer, Peter Brett, said: ‘With the shortest possible campaigning period, along with the large overlap with the Christmas and New Year holiday periods, this timetable will prevent many voters from hearing from candidates and will make it hard for candidates to put forward their case for election. Have the Lib Dems purposefully arranged for the local student population to be out of the area?’

(Picture by Tim Dobson on Flickr under a Creative Commons license )


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