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Reform UK under pressure to prove all its candidates were real people

by danielbarker on 9 July, 2024

Taken from an article by PETER WALKER, BEN QUINN AND ROWENA MASON

Reform UK has come under pressure to provide evidence its candidates at the general election were all real people after doubts were raised about a series of hopefuls who stood without providing any photos, biographies or contact details.

After seeing details about the apparently complete lack of information about some candidates, who the Guardian is not naming, the Liberal Democrats called on Reform to provide details about them.

A Liberal Democrat source said:

This doesn’t sound right and Reform should come clean with evidence. We need Reform to show who they are. People need to have faith in the democratic process.

A series of candidates listed on the Nigel Farage-led party’s election website only show their name and the constituency they stood in, without any information about them, or contact details beyond a generic regional email address.

Many of these people have no visible online presence, and did not appear to do any campaigning. Photographs of the electoral counts for some of the relevant constituencies show that the Reform candidate was the only person not to attend.

Under electoral rules, the only details that need to be given about the candidate is their full name and the constituency where they live. They must all have an agent, and be nominated by 10 local voters.

With some of the Reform candidates, it is not clear if they are listed on the electoral register for the area where they are standing – which in a few cases is hundreds of miles from the constituency in question. One person with the same name and location of a candidate denied it was them.

While there is no evidence any of the candidates are fake, if that turned out to be true, it would be a serious electoral offence. Reform was keen to win as big a share of the national vote as possible, which is helped by a full slate of candidates. Some of the seemingly invisible candidates won several thousand votes.

Separately, it has emerged that Reform raised the most out of all political parties during the fourth week of the election campaign, bringing in almost £600,000. Donors to Reform include £125,000 from Jeremy Hosking, a businessman who recently backed Laurence Fox’s Reclaim party, and the anti-vax former Tory MP Andrew Bridgen.

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