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Banksy cancels General Election print giveaway after police launch investigation

Graffiti artist was offering free prints to people who could prove they had voted against the Tories

Roisin O'Connor
Tuesday 06 June 2017 09:01 BST
Banksy's recent EU flag artwork in Dover
Banksy's recent EU flag artwork in Dover (Banksy/Instagram)

Banksy has cancelled his offer of a print giveaway for voters who could prove they voted against a Conservative candidate in the General Election.

The street artist had posted on his website announcing he would give a new, limited-edition artwork to people in seats from six Bristol constituencies.

The new piece - a version of his famous 'girl with a red balloon' where a Union Jack flag replaced the red heart - was set to be released on 9 June, the day after the election.

"Simply send in a photo of your ballot paper from polling day showing you voted against the Conservative incumbent and this complimentary gift will be mailed to you," the statement on Banksy's website said.

A "lawyers note" added: "This print is a souvenir piece of campaign material, it is in no way meant to influence the choices of the electorate, has no monetary value, is for amusement purposes only and is strictly not for resale. Terms and conditions to follow, postage not included".

However Banksy has now cancelled the giveaway after an investigation was launched by Avon and Somerset Police, who said they had received "a number of complaints".

A spokesman said: "It is a criminal offence under the Representation of People Act 1983 for any voter to accept or agree to accept a gift or similar in return for voting or refraining from voting.

"Any person participating in an offer to receive a gift is at risk of being prosecuted."

A new statement on Banksy's website titled 'Product Recall' reads: "I have been warned by the Electoral Commission that the free print offer will invalidate the election result.

"So I regret to announce this ill-conceived and legally dubious promotion has now been cancelled."

(Banksy (Banksy)

The Electoral Commission, which oversees UK elections, warns that bribery "where someone directly or indirectly gives any money or procures any office to or for any voter, in order to induce any voter to vote or not vote", is an electoral offence.

Charity Crimestoppers has been warning voters to be aware of electoral fraud during the election.

Its website reads: "It's illegal to offer money or gifts to voters, directly or indirectly, to get someone to vote a certain way, or not to vote at all."

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