Bill will spike the guns of `spoiler' candidates

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NEW POWERS to outlaw "spoiler" candidates like the "Literal Democrat" who took 10,000 votes in one election were announced by the Home Office yesterday.

A new Bill will also allow parties to print their emblems beside their candidates' names to "make it easier for voters to distinguish between candidates and parties", the Home Office said.

The changes will be possible under a new register of political parties to be set up for the Scottish parliament, the Welsh assembly and the European Parliament.

The new forums will use proportional representation, and parties putting forward lists of candidates will have to register at Companies House.

Under the proposed laws a prospective candidate would need a registered party's permission to use its name or "any form of words which might lead voters to associate the candidate with that party", the Home Office said.

Registration under the new Bill will be voluntary but the Home Office expects "any serious political party" to register in order to protect its name.