Banksy has pulled a plan to send free prints to Brits who don’t vote for the incumbent Conservative government in this week’s election because he’s been warned it would “invalidate” the result.
The anonymous street artist said Saturday he would mail prints to voters in six electoral districts in and around his home city of Bristol, southwest England, if they sent him a photo of their ballot paper to prove they hadn’t voted for their local Conservative Party candidate:
Banksy said he would send them the print, an updated version of his “Girl with balloon” on archival quality paper, to voters the day after Thursday’s election:
His offer, however, caused controversy as critics accused the artist of attempting to sway voters’ decisions. Local police confirmed in an issued statement that they had received multiple complaints and that they were “investigating the offer.”
“It is a criminal offense 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,” the Avon and Somerset police force said in the statement. “Any person participating in an offer to receive a gift is at risk of being prosecuted.”
Banksy announced late Monday that he would scrap the giveaway in light of the police investigation and a warning from the U.K. Electoral Commission.
The artist announced his “product recall” in an Instagram post:
The U.K. has strict electoral coverage guidelines and the Electoral Commission has also issued a warning against people against taking selfies in polling stations.