Letter: A man literally against democracy

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The Independent Online
Sir: In the Devon and East Plymouth seat, the Conservative candidate (Giles Chichester) won by a majority of 700 over the Liberal Democrat candidate (Adrian Sanders). Among the eight candidates for this seat, there was an unknown individual, Richard Huggett, standing as Literal Democrat, who polled an extraordinary 10,203 votes. I believe that the voters of Devon have been misled and confused by this strikingly similar label, and have thus been cheated of a free and fair election.

This candidate's platform was that our democratic system should be more literally democratic (hence his label), but it was not easy to find this out in the run-up to the election. He had no political agent, no telephone number, no election leaflet. When I wrote to his private address, he responded in writing and by telephone, and informed me that only about six poeple had contacted him to find out his platform.

Yet he polled more than 10,000 votes. Many voters have already expressed anger and distress at having inadvertently voted for him in the belief that he was the Liberal Democratic candidate. The name, Huggett, obviously was higher up on the ballot paper than Sanders, and a number of local newspapers had been confused and had listed him as a Liberal Democrat. There seems little doubt that a substantial proportion of the votes cast for him were not intended for him.

The irony is that this candidate professes to deplore our flawed democratic system; but by standing under a label that has misled many voters, he has tarnished even further the very principles of democracy that he is seeking to uphold.

The voters of Devon deserve better than this. The European election in this constituency should be re-run.

Yours sincerely,


Exminster, Devon

13 June