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Rules around standing for election should be updated for future elections

Published: 13 Jan 2015

The Electoral Commission has today (13 January) published a number of recommendations to update the rules around standing for election and make them clearer and fairer, including getting rid of the current system of deposits.

The report – ‘Standing for election in the UK’ – highlights other out of date practices such as only being able to submit nomination papers in person, and not being able to send them electronically. It also finds that there remains some confusion and inconsistency about what disqualifies someone for standing for election and includes proposals for addressing this.

Jenny Watson, Chair of the Electoral Commission, said:

“The current rules on standing for election are complex, out-of-date and difficult for candidates to navigate. We’ve listened to a wide range of views and our recommendations will make it easier for candidates to stand for election in the future, whilst maintaining trust and confidence in the system.”

Proposals to make the system clearer and more accessible for prospective candidates include:

  • Removing the financial barrier of paying a deposit but retaining subscriber requirements to help ensure candidates are genuinely contesting the election.
  • Giving candidates easier access to the register for electoral purposes.
  • Allowing candidates to combine information in free mailings where more than one election is taking place.

Jenny Watson continued:

"Some of the changes we recommend to modernise the rules involve complex areas of electoral law and will require legislative change. The Electoral Commission will work with the relevant governments across the UK to support them in delivering these changes.”

In December 2014, the UK Law Commissions published an important consultation seeking views on potential reforms that will modernise and rationalise electoral law. The consultation can be seen here and the Commission has also shared its report with them to consider.


For further information, contact Karim Aziz in the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704 or press@electoralcommission.org.uk
Out of office hours: 07789 920 414

Notes to editors

  1. The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament. Our aim is integrity and public confidence in the UK’s democratic process. We regulate party and election finance and set standards for well-run elections and are responsible for the conduct and regulation of referendums held under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (2000).