Calibre of candidates in local elections called into question

Hat-tip to the Tory blogger and LBC radio presenter Iain Dale for this, which he linked to on Twitter with the note: “And these people want to represent us?”

Conservative-Rosette1Up to the April 24 deadline this week, all candidates who want to stand in next month’s local elections have to find 10 residents to nominate them. A pretty straightforward piece of admin really, you’d think. Name, address and voting roll number required to complete the paperwork.

Andrew Kennedy, the chairman of a local Conservative association in a true-blue part of Kent, has to oversee such work. This week, he gave examples of what some of his candidates are capable of doing…

Candidate One managed to submit a paper with seven of the 10 signatures invalid. When I asked why so many non-residents had signed his paper he replied, “I took it around my local pub”. But two-thirds of them don’t live in your ward… “well, that might be the case, but they were in my ward when they signed the paper…”.

Candidate Two managed to ask a Thai lady, who is not even a UK citizen, let alone a registered voter, to sign her paper. Strangely, however, despite not being registered she had a roll number alongside her name (although the number didn’t exist). When I asked where the roll number came from, the candidate replied, “Oh I couldn’t find her, so I added her to the end of the list and made-up a number for her.”

Candidate Three: Not a single roll number matched the ones on the register, though fortunately everyone lived in the ward. Apparently, the candidate couldn’t find the electoral roll I had given him four days earlier, so used last year’s. “Does it really matter?” he asked.

Candidate Four: Now this is a first. This candidate got “somewhat confused” over the paperwork and entered me as the candidate and him as the election agent. When I pointed out the error, he asked, “Oh that’s OK – would you like to stand instead?”

Candidate Five: This candidate couldn’t find a 10th signatory, so signed the form himself.

There is a suggestion that Croydon Conservatives have tried hard to find an additional  election agent to take on some of the work which Ian Parker has long undertaken, but they have struggled to find someone up to the task.

Surely examples of candidates such as those outlined above could never possibly happen among Croydon’s much higher calibre candidates. Could they?


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1 Response to Calibre of candidates in local elections called into question

  1. davidcallam says:

    Ho, ho, ho! It would be funny if it wasn’t pathetic. Time for a complete change of system, but this being Britain it will take a generation or two.

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