Most of us are used to a ballot paper with 4 perhaps, 5 candidates but every now and again some constituencies have a high-profile. This tends to happen in the constituencies of party leaders. In the 2015 election David Cameron’s Oxfordshire constituency of Whitney saw 13 candidates including Reduce VAT in sport party and Give me back Elmo. This constituency saw a by-election in the following year after Cameron stepped down and with it a 14 candidate race. This time as well as a few old favourites standing Bus Pass Elvis stood as well as the One Love Party.
I’m lucky enough to have a ballot paper from the 2003 California Gubernatorial recall election. On the ballot appear 135 candidates. Now I’m not sure if this is a record but I would imagine it is up there. This election saw the recall of Democratic Incumbant Gray Davis and the Election of Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger.
Now the party with the largest number of candidates in the UK, each of whom paid a 500 pound deposit was Sedgfield, during the 2005 election. This of course was Tony Blair’s old constituency. Unusually there were far less stunt candidate that year. Sure the monster raving looney party ran, Kilroy’s short-lived Veritas ran and a little known ‘Blair must Go’ party received just over 100, but there was a higher than usual number of independents who ran. 5 to be exact with the highest profile one being Reg Keys.
Reg Key’s son was a military policeman who lost his life in Iraq in 2003. That year Key’s came in 4th not far behind the Liberal Democrat candidate. One BBC journalist reported it thus… ” Independent Reg Keys polled 10% of the vote in Tony Blair’s Sedgefield constituency on an anti-war ticket. But it was his moving lament for the son he lost in Iraq that will linger in the memory – not for Mr Keys’ words necessarily, although these were powerful enough, but for Tony Blair’s expression as he listened to them. ‘I hope in my heart that one day the prime minister will be able to say sorry, that one day he will say sorry to the families of the bereaved,’ said Mr Keys. Mr Blair’s attempt to look impassive and expressionless will, inevitably, be replayed time and again whenever the story of his premiership is told on television.”