With 15 candidates standing at the recent by-election in Peterborough, it was inevitable some would end up losing their deposits.
The contest ended up as a two horse race between Labour and the Brexit Party, with Labour’s Lisa Forbes ending up the winner by 683 votes.
But for 11 candidates and parties the £500 they paid to entered the election will not be returned after they failed to win the five per cent needed to get their £500 deposit back.
The closest of those was Joseph Wells from the Green Party who received more than three per cent of the vote, while UKIP’s John Whitby received 1.2 per cent.
Nine other candidates also failed to hit the five per cent mark to get their money back, with all receiving less than one per cent of the vote.
. Tom Rogers - Christian People’s Alliance (162 votes)
. Stephen Goldspink - English Democrats (153)
. Patrick O’Flynn - SDP Fighting for Brexit (135)
. Alan Hope - Official Monster Raving Loony Party (112)
. Andrew Moore - Peterborough People’s Party (101)
, Dick Rodgers - Common Good - Remain in the EU (60)
. Peter Ward - Renew (45)
. Pierre Kirk - UK European Union (25)
. Bobby Smith - Independent (5).
According to the House of Commons Library, deposits were first introduced in the Representation of the People Act 1918 due to concerns that there were “frivolous” candidates standing for election.
Deposits were meant to discourage candidates from standing who had little chance of winning. Originally the deposit amount was £150 and candidates needed to receive 12.5 per cent of the vote for it to be returned.
Since October 1, 1985 the deposit required has been £500 and the vote share needed lowered to five per cent.
From 1997 through to 2015 the proportion of candidates losing their deposit was around 40 per cent.
At the 2017 General Election 47.5 per cent of candidates lost their deposit – the highest proportion ever.
The Electoral Commission has called for deposits to be scrapped.
All lost deposits go to the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund which is effectively the Government’s current account.