Letter of the law backs Literal Democrat
Saturday 12 November 1994
The two election court judges ruled that there was nothing unlawful in Richard Huggett's nomination as a Literal Democrat in the Devon and East Plymouth European election in June.
Adrian Sanders, the Liberal Democrat candidate, lost to the Conservative, Giles Chichester, by only 700 votes - less than 1 per cent of the 527,000 electorate. Mr Sanders sought to overturn the result, claiming the returning officer should have rejected Mr Huggett's nomination paper which was ``calculated to confuse the electors''. Mr Huggett, a retired headteacher, polled more than 10,000 votes although he did not campaign or issue election literature.
But Mr Justice Dyson and Mr Justice Forbes ruled that Mr Huggett's candidature was perfectly legal and that the returning officer had not breached his duty by allowing him to stand.
The judges agreed ``Literal Democrat'' would confuse and mislead voters, but pointed out that, under British electoral law, candidates have to identify themselves by name and home address. There is no mention in the Representation of the People Act that party must be included.
``It is clear to us that contrary to what might be thought the popular view, Parliament has focused on certain minimum criteria for identifying candidates which do not include references to political parties,'' said Mr Justice Dyson. ``The rules do not prohibit candidates - whether out of spite or a wicked sense of fun - from describing themselves in a confusing way or indulging in spoiling tactics.''
Outside court, Mr Sanders said the Liberal Democrats were disappointed with the result of the case, which could cost pounds 150,000, and were considering an appeal.
``We are disappointed for the people of Devon and democracy,'' he said. ``This judgment, if it stands, is declaring an open season for soundalike and spoiling candidates in all future elections''.
A jubilant Mr Chichester said his faith in British justice had been restored. ``I was very glad that the cloud hanging over my head for five months has been conclusively removed by the court. I have always believed it was an arrogant assumption of the Liberal Democrats that 10,000 voters voted Literal Democrat by mistake.''
A new political organisation calling itself the Conversative Party, announced last night that it intended to target up to 4,000 Tory marginal seats in local elections next year. Alan Cornish, the self-styled leader of the Conversatives and a former unsuccessful candidate for the Liberal Democrats, said his aim was to force the Government to address the issue.
- 1 Russell Brand accuses FOX News anchor Sean Hannity of terrorism after aggressive Israel-Gaza debate
- 2 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness – including don’t try to convert other people
- 3 Arturo Vidal to Manchester United: Midfielder set to force through move to Louis van Gaal's Red Devils - reports
- 4 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 5 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
Russell Brand accuses FOX News anchor Sean Hannity of terrorism after aggressive Israel-Gaza debate
Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness – including don’t try to convert other people
Sabina Altynbekova, the girl branded 'too good looking' for volleyball, says social media obsession with her is a 'bit much'
Justin Bieber posts Instagram photo of Orlando Bloom crying after Ibiza fight 'over Miranda Kerr'
Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
- < Previous
- Next >
£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...