Guidance for Candidates and Agents at UK Parliamentary by-elections in Great Britain

Completing your nomination papers

To become nominated as a candidate at a UK Parliamentary by-election in Great Britain, you need to submit a completed set of nomination papers to the place fixed by the (Acting) Returning Officer ((A)RO) by 4pm, 19 working days before the poll.1

This deadline is set out in law and cannot be changed for any reason.

The start date from which you will be able to submit nomination papers, as well as the times and place for delivery, will be set out in the notice of election published by the (A)RO.2

There are three nomination papers that you must submit to make your nomination valid:3

The (A)RO can hold your nomination paper invalid if the particulars of your nomination are not as required by law. The (A)RO can also reject your nomination if they conclude it is clearly a sham, for example an obviously fictitious name is provided.

If you, your agent or someone you trust are unable to complete the nomination form, the (A)RO can help by preparing the form for your signature.4

The (A)RO may also be able to offer informal checks of your completed nomination papers before you submit them. You should find out from the (A)RO whether they plan to offer informal checks.

Note that any information you provide on your nomination papers must be true to the best of your knowledge. It is an offence to provide a false statement on your nomination papers. Providing a false statement could invalidate your election, and is also punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment. In England and Wales, the fine is unlimited;5 in Scotland, it is up to £10,000 or unlimited if convicted on indictment.6

Last updated: 9 January 2024