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

Withdrawal of a candidate before the deadline

A nominated candidate can withdraw their candidature if they do so before the deadline. A withdrawal notice is not prescribed in legislation but we do provide a template withdrawal notice for candidates to use. 

A notice of withdrawal must be:1

  • signed by the candidates
  • attested by one witness
  • delivered by hand to the place for the delivery of nomination papers
  • delivered by 4pm on the nineteenth working day before the poll

There are no restrictions on who can deliver a notice of withdrawal.

If the candidate is not in the UK, a notice of withdrawal will be effective if it is:2

  • signed by the proposer
  • accompanied by a written declaration that the candidate is abroad (also signed by the proposer)
  • delivered to you by 4pm on the nineteenth working day before the poll

If the candidate was nominated by more than one nomination form, each proposer must sign the notice and declaration.3

If any of the proposers are outside the UK they do not need to sign the notice, but the notice must, by law, include a statement that they are also outside the UK.4

Return of deposit due to withdrawal

You must return the deposit of any candidate who has withdrawn their candidature. The deposit must be returned to the person who made it and as soon as practicable after the statement of persons nominated has been published.5 For guidance on returning deposits to validly nominated candidates after an election see our section on Post election activity.

Last updated: 19 December 2023