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Guidance for candidates and agents at UK Parliamentary by-elections in Great Britain

Candidates and agents standing at Parliamentary by-elections in the UK have to follow rules set out in law regarding their election spending, and the donations and loans they can accept towards campaigning.

This page contains all the guidance and resources that you need to comply with those rules if you are a candidate or agent in a UK Parliamentary by-election in Great Britain.

An overview document gives instructions on how to use this guidance and who does what at these elections. Read the overview (PDF)

We have produced a generic timetable for a UK Parliamentary by-election (DOC) which includes the statutory deadlines. You can obtain a copy of a specific by-election timetable from the Returning Officer.

Latest updates

  • Updated UK Parliamentary by-election guidance

    13-09-2016

    Our guidance for candidates and agents was updated on 13 September. Please refer to the updated document for any current or forthcoming UK Parliamentary by-elections in Great Britain.

    If you downloaded the guidance before 13 September and are thinking of standing at any by-elections, please make sure you download the most up-to-date version of this guidance.

Part 2a

Standing as an independent candidate

This part covers:

  • Completing and submitting your nomination papers
  • What happens after the close of nominations?
  • Appointing your election agent and other agents
  • What happens if a candidate dies?

Part 2a: Standing as an independent candidate (PDF)

Part 2b

Standing as a party candidate

This part covers:

  • Completing and submitting your nomination papers
  • What happens after the close of nominations
  • Appointing your election agent and other agents
  • What happens if a candidate dies?

Part 2b: Standing as a party candidate (PDF)

Part 3

Spending and donations

This part covers:

  • How much you can spend
  • The activities covered by the rules
  • Which donations you can accept
  • How to check donations you receive
  • What information needs to be recorded and reported

Part 3: Spending and donations (PDF)

Part 4

The campaign

This part covers:

  • Campaigning dos and don'ts
  • Using the electoral register and absent voters' lists
  • Using schools and rooms for public meetings
  • Freepost
  • Imprints on campaign publicity material
  • Polling day dos and don'ts
  • Reporting allegations of electoral malpractice

Part 4: The campaign (PDF)

Part 5

Your right to attend key electoral events

This part covers:

  • Attending the opening of postal votes and what to expect
  • Attending polling stations and what to expect
  • Attending the count and what to expect

Part 5: Your right to attend key electoral events (PDF)

Part 6

After the declaration of results

This part covers:

  • Parliamentary oath of office or affirmation
  • Return of the deposit
  • Access to election paperwork
  • Submitting your spending returns and declarations
  • Questioning the result through an election petition

Part 6: After the declaration of results (PDF)

Candidate or agent