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

Attendance at delivery of nomination papers

Only certain people are entitled to attend the delivery of nomination papers and to inspect and make any objections to the validity of a nomination form or home address form. You can find more information on dealing with objections in our guidance: Objections to nominations.

After a candidate has delivered their nomination papers and deposit and they stand validly nominated, they are entitled to attend the delivery of other candidates’ nomination papers and make objections. In addition to the candidate, the following persons will also be able to attend and make objections:1  

  • their election agent
  • their proposer or seconder, as stated on the nomination form

If a candidate is their own election agent, they can appoint one other person to attend the delivery of nomination papers and make objections. If a candidate has submitted more than one nomination form, only the proposer and seconder from the nomination form they have selected will be entitled to attend. If none has been selected, it will be the proposer and seconder of the first submitted nomination form who will have that entitlement.

Nomination papers cannot be inspected by anybody else at any time. 

Electoral Commission representatives and one other person chosen by a validly nominated candidate can also be present at the delivery of nomination papers, but they are not allowed to inspect or make any objections to nomination papers.

You should make it clear to persons inspecting a home address form which asks for the candidate’s home address not to be published that the information on the form should only be used by the person inspecting to:

  • object to the nomination 
  • lodge an election petition
  • make a complaint to the police that a person has made a false statement 

You should make it clear to the person inspecting that any other use of the information on the form may be in breach of data protection legislation and so could make a person using the information for any other purpose liable to criminal prosecution.

You must keep the nomination papers securely stored and allow inspection of the nomination and home address forms by the persons permitted to inspect these until the deadline for making objections to the nomination papers.2  

Once the deadline for making objections has passed, you should store the nomination papers securely for one year after the election due to the time limit for prosecution in case of an election petition. The home address form must be destroyed after 21 days.3  

Last updated: 19 December 2023