The news came through earlier this evening that Ronnie Carroll had died. He was a former British Eurovision contestant, but of most current interest was that he was a candidate in the General Election, standing as an independent in Hampstead and Kilburn as ‘The Eurovisionary Carroll’.
This sparked a sudden flurry of interest on Twitter as I, and several others, delved into our knowledge of election law and assumed this meant that the election in Hampstead and Kilburn would be postponed. The death of a candidate has caused this at the last two elections (South Staffordshire in 2005 and Thirsk and Malton in 2010) but the idea of it happening in Hampstead and Kilburn was of a lot more interest, because it’s an incredibly tight three-way marginal, won by Glenda Jackson for Labour in 2010 by just 42 votes, with the Liberal Democrats less than 1000 votes behind in third place. In an election that’s already looking to deliver a ridiculously close result, the idea that we could all be waiting several weeks for the final constituency to vote and declare was of obvious interest. All sorts of implications were going through my head, until David Boothroyd pointed out it was no longer the case:
3.135 If an independent candidate dies, the election continues as normal. If the deceased candidate receives the most votes, they are not elected and the election is re-run. No new nominations are required: all of the existing candidates remain nominated for the new election and retention or return of the deposit is determined by the re-run election result. No new nominations are allowed for the re-run election, although candidates may withdraw.
If a party candidate dies, then the election is effectively cancelled and reheld to allow for the party to nominate a replacement candidate, but independents are not given that same consideration. So Carroll (who previously stood as Make Politicians History and was a friend of perennial candidate Rainbow George Weiss) wasn’t able to cause a big story in his final election…unless the people of Hampstead and Kilburn decide they want some more attention and he wins the election on May 7th.
(UPDATE: Jonathan Calder writes about this as well, and features some of Ronnie Carroll’s music too)