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Posted by: John Brace | 12th November 2013

4 Nomination Papers for Candidates in Upton By-election | Davies (LD), Gubb (Con), McGinley (Green) and Patrick (Lab)

4 Nomination Papers for Candidates in Upton By-election | Davies (LD), Gubb (Con), McGinley (Green) and Patrick (Lab)

                           

As readers of this blog will know I’m a great believer in openness and transparency. Elections are already pretty open and transparent processes with many of the major documents published as a matter of course throughout the election period. One of them that isn’t though is a candidate’s nomination papers. Each candidate in a local government election for a councillor has to fill out a nomination paper, get the signatures of ten electors in the ward they’re standing in, sign another piece of paper saying they agree to the nomination (including having this witnessed) and include with their nomination papers three pieces of legislation that detail reasons why a person could be disqualified from being a councillor (and sign a declaration to say they’re not disqualified).

During the election period from when the last date for nominations has passed to polling day any member of the public can ask to inspect the nomination papers (during working hours) and ask for copies. During this period I emailed Wirral Council’s Returning Officer Graham Burgess with such a request and ten days later (on polling day) received them. Each file has a copy of each candidate’s nomination papers, candidate’s consent to nomination and the various pieces of legislation that they’re required to include.

Oh and before anyone and asks if I’m related to the proposer and one of the assentors on the Lib Dem candidate’s papers as their surname is also Brace, I am. They’re my parents. The links to the nomination papers are listed alphabetically by surname. If you see anything crossed out and initialed by the candidate, the election office at Wirral Council will (if requested) check to see if the candidate has filled it out correctly and it’s a valid nomination. If they suggest a change, the candidate is usually asked to initial it to show it hasn’t been altered by anyone else. Candidates are also required to include their date of birth on the candidate’s consent to nomination as there’s a minimum age limit that a candidate can be.

Alan Davies (Liberal Democrat candidate)
Geoffrey Ian Gubb (Conservative Party candidate)
James Bernard McGinley (Green Party candidate)
Matthew John Patrick (Labour Party candidate) now Cllr Matthew Patrick

During the election campaign there are strict limits on what each candidate can spend on their campaign, included in the limit are amounts spent by third parties such as the political party that nominated them. The limit if memory serves me correctly is set at £600 + 5p per an elector and candidates (and their agents) have about a month after the election to submit a detailed election expenses claim of money spent and where it came from. I’m not sure how much interest there would be in how much each candidate spent and the source of their funds. Once an election expenses claim has been submitted they are open to public inspection at Wallasey Town Hall for up to two years, although if you want copies Wirral Council can charge. If you’d like me to write in the future about the election spending in the Upton by-election and the source of the funds for each candidate then please leave a comment.

The winning candidate is also required to also state the source of the funds for their election campaign in the Register of Interests which is published on Wirral Council’s website in answer to the question “The name of any person, other than a relevant authority, who has made a payment to you in respect of your election or any expenses incurred by you in carrying out your duties?”. If anyone reading knows what is meant by “relevant authority” please leave a comment as I presume it is meaning that councillors don’t have to include in answer to this question the allowances they get for being a councillor? I think councillors are allowed up to a month after their election to answer the questions in the register of interests as currently (on the 12th November) Cllr Patrick’s page on Wirral Council’s website has no link to a register of interests page.

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