Count Binface and Lord Buckethead among high-profile deposit losers

Failure at the polls has cost election candidates hundreds of thousands of pounds in lost deposits this year.

Overall, PA figures from this year’s poll show that, with just one constituency yet to declare, some 1,273 candidates lost their deposits – a total of £636,500 – compared with the £784,000 surrendered by 1,567 candidates in the snap election two years ago.

The Green Party were by far the biggest loser, in deposit terms, as 465 of its candidates failed to secure the required 5% of the vote in their chosen constituency in order to see their £500 deposit returned.

This cost the party, which finished the 2019 election with one MP, a total of £232,500 – marginally up from the £228,000 lost on 456 candidates in 2017.

While it was a bad night for the Liberal Democrats in terms of seats, losing their leader Jo Swinson and seeing defectors Chuka Ummuna and Sam Gyimah fail to win, the party improved its lost deposit performance on the previous poll.

In 2017, PA data shows 375 Lib Dem candidates lost their deposit at a cost of £187,500 compared with £68,000 surrendered by 136 hopefuls this time.

High-profile candidates such as Count Binface (Independent) and Lord Buckethead (Monster Raving Loony Party) fell foul of the rule this year, polling just 0.14% and 0.26% in Uxbridge & Ruislip South.

Former Labour MP Chris Williamson, expelled from the party following an anti-Semitism row, also failed to recover his deposit as well as his Derby North seat – finishing a distant last with 635 votes (1.35%).

The Independent Group for Change candidate Chris Leslie, an ex-Labour MP first elected in 1997, was also among the high-profile fallers at the 5% hurdle, mustering only 1,447 votes (3.36%) in Nottingham East.

A total of 165 candidates for the Brexit Party, which did not exist at the last election, failed to recoup their cash, with the losses totalling £82,500.

Around 190 Independents surrendered their down payment this time around, compared with 156 in 2017, while 28 of the Yorkshire Party’s hopefuls lost out this year – seven more than in the previous poll.

And double the number of Loony Party candidates lost their cash – rising from 12 in 2017 to 24 in 2019.

Party treasurer Nick Delves, or Nick ‘The Flying Brick’ according to the Islington North ballot paper, said: “Largely speaking – a small amount of sponsorship came in this year but most candidates fund themselves.

“It’s definitely worth it [for the candidates] – because we’re going to win, but we didn’t this time. At some point we will win, we will take government.

“I am a single-issue politician, it’s my intention to abolish gravity but I failed to do that in Islington but I will do it in the next election”.