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

Nomination form – Subscriber requirements

Nomination forms must include an indication of support for the candidate from 10 electors registered on the UK Parliamentary register in the constituency. These are known as subscribers - the first two are the proposer and seconder, while eight other electors are the assenters to the nomination.1 There is nothing preventing a candidate from subscribing their own nomination provided they are registered in the constituency. 

Each subscriber is required by law to sign the nomination form in the appropriate place and must include their electoral number in the spaces provided alongside their signature, along with the polling district’s identifying letters. 

There is no requirement for a subscriber to print their name on a UK Parliamentary nomination form. 

Once a nomination form has been formally delivered, even if it is later deemed invalid, the signatures of the subscribers will still count towards the one form that the subscriber may subscribe.

If an elector is later removed from the register or dies before the election (or indeed even before the nomination is delivered), their signature remains valid and the nomination is not affected.

A person who is shown on the register as being under 18 years old at the time of nomination can only subscribe a nomination form if they will be 18 years old on or before polling day.

Only the first 10 subscribers on any nomination form can be considered. If more subscribers are included, any subsequent names must not be considered at all. If one of the first 10 subscribers is invalid, irrespective of whether more subscribers have been added to the nomination form, the nomination must be held invalid.

Signatures on nomination forms, once given, cannot be withdrawn by subscribers. If a subscriber contacts you to say that they wish to withdraw their subscription, you should inform that that this is not permitted by law and that the subscription remains valid.

You must reject a nomination if the nomination form is not subscribed as required.2  

Checking subscribers are on the register

Subscribers must appear on the Parliamentary electoral register that is in force on the last day for publication of notice of election (i.e. on the second day after that on which the writ is received). It is essential that the correct version of the register is used for checking that the subscribers are valid. 

An elector must not subscribe more than one nomination form at the Parliamentary election. If they do, their signature will only be valid on the first paper to be delivered to you, even if this was not the first paper that they signed.3  

You should have a robust system in place to ensure that no elector subscribes more than one nomination form. You should use both a hard copy of the register and the electoral management system in order to minimise the risk of missing a subscriber who has subscribed more than one form, and physically mark the hard copy of the register when nominations are formally submitted. 

As you must accept the nomination form at face value, you must accept that the signature made on the nomination form is that of the person listed on the register under the relevant elector number, even if the signature suggests another name. You may draw the attention of the person delivering the paper to the issue if you are concerned, but you must take the elector number and the signature at face value. If after having raised the issue you still have any concerns, you should raise these with your police Single Point of Contact (SPOC). 

Crossed out subscribers’ names 

Occasionally a mistake is made and one or more of the subscribers’ names may be crossed out. If the signature and elector number for a subscriber are clearly crossed out, you should ignore it and treat it as if that row did not appear at all. If asked, you should advise that any crossings out should be clear and, ideally, initialled. 

You should not cross out any entry. If the entry that has been crossed out was that of a proposer or seconder, then the new proposer or seconder must be indicated. Where an entry has been crossed out, the first ten subscribers excluding that entry must still be valid for the nomination to be valid. 

Last updated: 19 December 2023