List of deaths of candidates during general elections of the United Kingdom

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There have been nine instances of a death of a candidate during a British general election since 1918[1] (the first election in which all constituencies in the United Kingdom voted on the same day).

The rules governing the procedure for dealing with the death of a candidate occur in the Representation of the People Act 1983. Unless the deceased candidate was standing as an independent, their death results in the election being postponed whether it is a general election or a by-election. The poll is stopped immediately even if voting has closed and the votes are being counted, unless the death occurs after the declaration of the result.

The Returning Officer must be shown proof of the death; a new election is then arranged for 28 days after this date. The time at which the Returning Officer hears of the death is the relevant factor not the date of the death itself. There is no requirement for other nominated candidates to re-register, a new candidate may be nominated by the party of the deceased and any of the other candidates may at this point withdraw from the election, but independent candidates and candidates for other parties cannot be nominated.

According to the Electoral Commission, if the deceased candidate was standing as an independent, the election continues as normal. The Speaker of the House of Commons seeking re-election is treated effectively as if he were standing for a party, except that in this case other candidates may be nominated by any party or as independents as the proceedings begin afresh. [2]

Under all circumstances the deposit will be returned to the estate of the deceased candidate.[3] In the unlikely event that a deceased independent candidate wins, the election is re-held with no new candidates and all deposits are returned. If it is a tie between a deceased independent candidate and one or more living candidates, the deceased candidate is ignored.

The most recent candidate to die during a general election is former Eurovision singer Ronnie Carroll, who was standing in the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency as an independent, who died on 13 April 2015. As he was an independent, the poll is not cancelled and will proceed with his name on the ballot paper. If he wins posthumously, a by-election will be held.

Deaths during elections since 1900[edit]

Name Election Party Date of death Days before election Age Constituency References
Lucas, F. A.F. A. Lucas 1918 Conservative 9 December 1918 3 Lambeth, Kennington [4]
White, Charles FrederickCharles Frederick White 1923 Liberal 4 December 1923 2 60 Derbyshire, West [4]
Yates, H.H. Yates 1929 Labour 27 May 1929 3 Rugby [4]
Windsor, WalterWalter Windsor* 1945 Labour 30 June 1945 6 61 Kingston upon Hull Central [4]
Fleming, EdwardEdward Fleming* 1950 Conservative 17 February 1950 6 59 Manchester Moss Side [4]
Collindridge, FrankFrank Collindridge* 1951 Labour 16 October 1951 9 60 Barnsley [4]
Harrison, JoJo Harrison 2005 Liberal Democrat 29 April 2005 5 53 South Staffordshire [1]
Boakes, JohnJohn Boakes 2010 UKIP 22 April 2010 14 63 Thirsk and Malton [5] [6]
Carroll, RonnieRonnie Carroll 2015 Independent 13 April 2015 24 80 Hampstead and Kilburn [7]
notes: *= likely winner, had they lived. Replacement won in their place.


  1. ^ a b BBC News 2010
  2. ^ Representation of the People Act 1983 section 64
  3. ^ Electoral Commission:Guidance for candidates and agents, The 2010 UK Parliamentary general elections in Great Britain, p 39, Rule 60(3), PER.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Rallings & Thrasher 2007, p. 122
  5. ^ Tingle 2010
  6. ^ Stead 2010
  7. ^ BBC News Team 2015

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