Guidance for (Acting) Returning Officers administering a UK Parliamentary election in Great Britain

Appointment of election agent

An election agent is the person responsible for the proper management of the candidate’s election campaign and, in particular, for its financial management. Every candidate must have an election agent. 

The notice of the appointment of an election agent must be delivered to you by the latest time for the delivery of notices of withdrawals by 4pm on the last day for the delivery of nomination papers. 

We have produced an election agent notification form as part of the following set of nomination papers.1

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You should communicate information on the election processes, the code of conduct and standard points of behaviour to the election agent at the earliest opportunity. In particular any information you provide should provide links to and highlight the new postal vote handling and the new undue influence and intimidation rules.

Can a candidate be their own agent? 

A candidate may appoint themselves as their own election agent. 

If no agent is appointed by the deadline for withdrawals, the candidate automatically becomes their own election agent.2   

A candidate also becomes their own agent if:

  • they revoke their agent’s appointment, or
  • their agent dies, and a replacement is not appointed on the day of the death or on the following day3  

Election agent’s office address

The election agent must have an office address to which all claims, notices, legal notices and documents may be sent. This must be a physical address – PO boxes or similar mailboxes cannot be used.4  

The location of the office must be in one of the following locations:

  • within the parliamentary constituency where the candidate is standing
  • within a constituency which adjoins the constituency where the candidate is standing
  • within Wales, within a Welsh county or county borough which is part of, or adjoins, the constituency where the candidate is standing
  • within London, within a London borough which is part of, or adjoins, the constituency where the candidate is standing5  

The election agent’s office address is often the same as their home address. Alternatively, it might be the local political party office or an office especially set up for the election.

If the candidate gives you written notification of their appointment as their own election agent, they must give an office address within the qualifying area as defined in the bullet points above.

Where a candidate acts as their own election agent as a result of not having appointed anybody else, the office address is deemed to be the address given on the statement of persons nominated, i.e. the one provided on the home address form. If that address is outside the relevant qualifying area as defined in the bullet points above, the office address is deemed to be the address of the person named in the statement of persons nominated as proposer.6    

Last updated: 22 December 2023