The independent elections watchdog
and regulator of party and election finance

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Candidate or agent

Candidates and their agents must follow certain rules set out in legislation. We provide guidance to help candidates and agents comply with the rules. You do not have to follow this guidance, but if you do, you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. On this page you will find links to all the different elections that we produce guidance for.

We have produced a document for people who want to know the basics about elections, the roles of different organisations and where to find more information.

Our guidance for elections covers:

  • standing for election
  • campaigning
  • accepting donations
  • spending money
  • your rights as a candidate, including access to election proceedings
  • reporting after the election

How we can help

As well as our guidance, we are happy to answer questions and give advice. We are here to help, so please get in touch.

If you have a question about standing for election, please call or email your local Commission team in England, or your local office in Wales or Scotland. For information on standing for election in Northern Ireland, contact The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland.

If you have a question about campaigning, accepting donations, spending money or reporting after the election, please call 020 7271 0616 or email pef@electoralcommission.org.uk

Between elections, there are rules on donations to certain individuals for political purposes. If you are a prospective candidate and you belong to a registered party please also see our page for regulated individuals.

Latest updates

  • Change to party list candidate personal expenses return - European Parliamentary elections


    We have noticed that the form that we initially provided for this purpose needed amending to fully meet the legal requirements. We have now published the revised form. It contains a worksheet to enable candidates to meet the requirement to provide details of each item of expenditure they have incurred, and also reflects the fact that the return relates only to personal expenses incurred by the candidate. The revised form also includes an explanatory note outlining the requirements in more detail.

    If you have already downloaded the previous form, please discard it and use the current version, which is available here.   

  • Amendment to guidance for candidates and agents in local elections


    We have made a minor amendment to a date in our guidance for candidates and agents standing at the Local government elections in England and Wales in 2014.

    The earliest date of the ‘regulated period’ is 15 April and not 14 April. We’ve updated our factsheet to reflect this change.

  • Thinking of contesting the European Parliamentary elections in 2014 and the UK Parliamentary general election in 2015?


    We have published guidance for anyone thinking of standing as a candidate at the European Parliamentary elections in 2014. The guidance covers the rules on spending, as well as the nomination process and rules on campaigning.

    Guidance for candidates in Great Britain | Guidance for candidates in Northern Ireland

    We have also produced a factsheet on information for anyone thinking of contesting the European Parliamentary elections in 2014 and/or the UK Parliamentary General Election in 2015, that summarises the spending limits and explains when these limits and rules will apply.

    8 August 2014: The UK Government has increased the spending limits for candidates contesting the 2015 UK parliamentary general election. The factsheet has been updated to reflect these changes.

    Read our factsheet on spending limits

Candidate or agent