May 2020 postponed election candidate guidance


The UK Government introduced legislation to postpone certain elections, including those due to be held in May 2020 until May 2021, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Local council by-elections were postponed on 7 April and all other elections which were due to be held in May 2020 were postponed on 25 March 2020.

The UK Government has now introduced further legislation to void the candidacy of those people who legally became a candidate before the elections were postponed. This new legislation is now in force.

The new legislation is relevant to anyone who legally became a candidate at any of the following elections:

  • Elections for the Greater London Assembly (GLA), including Mayor of London
  • Postponed local authority by-elections

Generally, the earliest date someone can become a candidate is the final date for publication of notice of election. You will have become a candidate on this date if you announced your intention to stand at some point before that date. The position is different for people who appear on their party’s London wide party list, who would have become a candidate the day their party’s agent submitted the party’s list to the returning officer for the election.    

For the Mayor of London and constituency candidates at GLA elections, the earliest date someone could have become a candidate was 24 March 2020. 

Accordingly, some people may have officially become a candidate for an election before the election was postponed by legislation. This new law applies to those candidates - it voids their candidacy and removes their legal obligations as a candidate.  

This means that those persons whose candidacy for an election is voided by the new legislation are not required to submit a return of election expenses for the postponed election. Any candidate spending they have incurred or donations they have received ahead of the postponed elections are no longer required to be reported in a return for that election. 

Candidates who were standing for re-election 

If you were standing for re-election, there may be donations which would have otherwise have been reportable in your candidate return, which now must be reported to the Commission in your capacity as a regulated donee. This will apply to any donations towards your re-election campaign that you received between the date you officially became a candidate and 22 September 2020, which is the date this new law came into force. 

The new law does not apply to parish council by-elections.
We have produced some FAQs below. If you have any further questions, please contact our advice service.