Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, April 24, 2017

Choosing UK candidates

No primary elections. No caucuses. Since candidates do not have to reside in the constituency from which they are elected, party big shots have a big say in who the candidates are.

General election 2017: Can parties select candidates in time?
Britain's political parties are in a race against time to get candidates in place for the snap election. They had been working on the assumption that there would not be an election until May 2020, but now have just three weeks to put names forward.

Any British, Irish or eligible Commonwealth citizen over the age of 18 - who meets the qualification criteria - can stand, provided they can scrape together a £500 deposit. The deadline for submitting an application is Wednesday, 11 May.

Here is how the parties' efforts are going:


Labour has said all of its 229 MPs will be automatically re-selected - they had until 17:00 BST on Thursday, April 20, to say whether they wanted to stand again or not…

All Labour candidates in England will be selected by members of the party's ruling National Executive Committee and regional board members.

Local Labour Party branches, who normally get to choose candidates, will not get a say "due to the exceptional snap general election circumstances"…

Labour in Scotland and Wales will shortly announce their own selection plans.


The Conservative Party has also changed its normal selection procedures and is short-listing candidates for target seats without inviting applications.

"Inevitably it has to be a somewhat shorter process than we usually use," says a leaked letter to would-be Tory candidates published by Conservative Home.

The party's 330 MPs will be re-selected, unless they have decided to stand down…

The Scottish National Party

All 54 of the SNP's existing MPs are expected to stand again…

The Liberal Democrats

The party selected 326 candidates last year and a further 70 or so before the snap election was announced.

It advertised for the remaining vacancies and is hoping to have candidates in all 650 seats by early next week.

All candidates are selected by local parties, in line with national party guidelines on gender balance and ethnic diversity.

UK Independence Party

A UKIP spokesman told the BBC… "Our candidate selection process will begin shortly, with candidates being adopted over the course of the next week, and we will be fielding candidates nationwide."

The Green Party of England and Wales

[A] party spokeswoman said… said local parties were currently selecting candidates…

Plaid Cymru

The party, which currently has three MPs, is selecting its candidates next week - the choice is made by local party members…

Northern Ireland parties

With talks still going on at Stormont about restoring devolved government, none of the parties is thought to have selected candidates yet for the general election.

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