Candidates in the 2015 United Kingdom general election

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3,971 candidates stood in the United Kingdom general election of 2015, which was held on 7 May 2015.

The deadline for parties and individuals to file candidate nomination papers to the acting returning officer (and the deadline for candidates to withdraw) was 4 p.m. on 9 April 2015.[1][2][3][4]

The total number of candidates was 3,971; this is the second-highest number in history, slightly down from the record 4,150 candidates at the last election in 2010.[5][6]

Overall candidate profile[edit]


There are a record number of female candidates standing in terms of both absolute numbers and percentage of candidates: 1,020 (26.1%) in 2015, up from 854 (21.1%) in 2010.[5][6] The proportion of female candidates varies by region; it is 26.6% in Wales, 26.2% in England (30.4% in London), 25.6% in Scotland, and 23.9% in Northern Ireland.[5] The proportion of female candidates is lowest in eastern England (21.6%).[5]

The parties with the highest proportion of female candidates are the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (41%), the Greens (in England and Wales and Scotland) (38%), and the SNP (36%).[7] The party with the lowest proportion of female candidates is UKIP (12%).[7] The constituency with the most female candidates is Camberwell and Peckham in south London, where five women and four men are standing.[7] In 120 constituencies, no female candidate is standing.[7]


University College London's Parliamentary Candidates UK project[8] evaluated the background of 2015 general-election candidates (excluding incumbent MPs) from the seven major parties: Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, UKIP, Plaid Cymru, the SNP, and the Greens.[9]

The project found that 26% of candidates contesting the 2015 general election were political professionals (defined as those currently working as advisers, researchers, party officials, trade unionists or lobbyists).[9] The parties with the highest percentage of political-professional candidates were the SNP (47%), Labour (33%), and Plaid Cymru (33%); the party with the lowest percentage of political-professional candidates is UKIP.[9] The parties with the highest proportion of lobbyist candidates are the Conservatives (27%) and the Liberal Democrats (21%).[9]

The party with the highest percentages of candidates from a business or commercial background was UKIP (37%) and the Conservatives (21%); the lowest is the Greens (15%).[9] The party with the highest percentages of candidates in professions such as law and teaching are the Liberal Democrats (16%) followed by Labour (12%).[9]

The Conservatives have the largest number of researcher candidates (12), but the SNP has the largest percentage of researcher candidates (five researchers, or 8% of its candidates).[9] Some 23% of Labour candidates work in trade unions.[9] The Liberal Democrats have the highest percentage of candidates who sit on local councils (53%), followed by the SNP (43%) and UKIP (40%).[9]


According to UCL's Parliamentary Candidates UK project, the average age of the candidates for the seven major parties is 45; there is substantial deviation among the parties, with Conservatives having the youngest average (41) and UKIP the oldest (52); in the middle are Labour (43) and the Liberal Democrats (47).[10] Among marginal seats—those constituencies that are highly contested—UKIP and the Liberal Democrats both have a lower average age for candidates (44) than for all seats in general, while the Conservatives, Labour, and Greens all have slightly older candidates in such seats than for seats in general.[10]

The youngest candidates are Solomon Curtis, 18, of Labour, standing in the safe Conservative seat of Wealden; Niamh McCarthy, 18, an independent, standing in the safe Labour seat of Liverpool Wavertree; Michael Burrows, 18, of UKIP, standing in Inverclyde, Scotland; Declan Lloyd, of Labour, standing in South East Cornwall; and Laura-Jane Rossington, 18, of the Communist Party of Britain.[11][12][13] The youngest Conservative candidate is Taylor Muir, 19, standing in Rutherglen and Hamilton West.[11] The youngest candidate who became an MP in the election is Mhairi Black, 20, of the SNP,[14] who became the youngest MP since 1667 (prior to the Acts of Union) after she defeated Labour's Douglas Alexander in the Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituency.[10][15]

The oldest candidate is Doris Osen, 84, of the Elderly Persons' Independent Party (EPIC), who is standing in Ilford North.[12] Other oldest candidates standing in the election include two longtime Labour MPs standing for reelection: Sir Gerald Kaufman, 84, of Manchester Gorton, and Dennis Skinner, 83, of Bolsover.[10]

Ethnic background[edit]

According to UCL's Parliamentary Candidates UK project, of the major parties, the major parties had the following percentages of black and ethnic minority candidates: the Conservatives 11%, the Liberal Democrats 10%, Labour 9%, UKIP 6%, the Greens 4%.[16] About 17% of the British population as a whole identifies as black or ethnic minority.[16] Neither UKIP nor the Greens selected a black or ethnic minority candidate to stand in a seat viewed as winnable.[16] The Green leader, Natalie Bennett, stated that "I would agree that our percentage of BME candidates is disappointing and it's something we very much want to focus on."[16]

A total of 158 British Asians (i.e., Britons of South Asian descent) stood for election: 111 men and 47 women.[17] The Conservatives are standing 36 British Asian candidates, Labour 34, the Liberal Democrats 32, UKIP 21, the Greens eight, the Communities United Party four, the SNP one, and assorted other parties 17.[17] Five British Asians stood as independents.[17] British Indians are the largest non-white ethnic grouping in Britain, and the votes of the British Indian community were seen as critical.[18]

The 2015 election featured the first Sikh candidate to stand in a Northern Ireland constituency: Amandeep Singh Bhogal, a Conservative standing in Upper Bann.[19][20]

Former MPs standing against each other[edit]

Unusually, three former MPs competed against each other in a single seat, Northampton North.[21] There, Conservative Michael Ellis, who was elected to the seat in 2010; Labour candidate Sally Keeble, who was a Labour MP for the seat from 1997 to 2010; and Green candidate Tony Clarke, who was a Labour MP for neighbouring Northampton South from 1997 to 2005 before leaving the party, are all competing against each other.[21] It is not unusual for two former MPs to compete in an election (often a rematch), but it is rare for three former MPs to contest a single seat.[21]

Pan-United Kingdom[edit]

The Conservatives stood in 647 constituencies; the party is standing in every seat in Great Britain except for the Speaker's seat, and is also standing in 16 of the 18 Northern Ireland seats.[4] UKIP are standing in 624 seats (up from 572 in 2010).[4][note 1]

By tradition, none of the major parties stand candidates against the speaker of the House of Commons (currently John Bercow). However, the Greens and UKIP stood candidates against the speaker.[22][23]

Great Britain[edit]

The Conservatives, Labour[note 2] and the Liberal Democrats stood in 631 seats in Great Britain (all save the Speaker's seat).[4] The Greens across England, Scotland and Wales are standing in 568 seats (up from 331 in 2010).[4][6][24][25]

Among the minor parties:


The Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP and Plaid Cymru stood candidates across all 40 constituencies in Wales.[5][6]


A total of 346 candidates stood in Scotland's 59 constituencies.[2] The SNP, Labour, Conservatives, and Liberal Democrats are standing candidates in every Scottish constituency; UKIP in 41; the Scottish Greens in 31; the Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in 10, including one joint candidate with Left Unity; Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol in 8; the Scottish Socialist Party in four; the National Front and the Scottish Christian Party in two, and the Scottish Communist Party, and the Socialist Equality Party in one each.[2][6] There are also ten independent candidates standing for election in Scottish constituencies.[2]

Northern Ireland[edit]

A total of 138 candidates are standing in Northern Ireland's 18 constituencies.[43][44] Sinn Féin, the SDLP and Alliance are standing in all 18; the DUP in 16 (having made an electoral pact to support the UUP in two constituencies); the Conservatives in 16; the UUP in 15 (having made an electoral pact to support the DUP in two constituencies; they are also not standing in North Down against Sylvia Hermon); UKIP in ten; TUV in seven, the Greens in five, and the Workers' Party in five.[43] Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol have 4 candidates and People Before Profit one. Five independent candidates are standing in Northern Ireland, including incumbent Lady Hermon.[43]

In Northern Ireland, the fewest candidates in a constituency is five (in Fermanagh and South Tyrone and Newry and Armagh); the most is 10 in North Down.[45] Overall, women make up 25% of candidates in Northern Ireland.[45] One constituency only has only male candidates (Belfast West), while only one constituency has more female than male candidates (Fermanagh and South Tyrone).[45] The DUP and UKIP (in Northern Ireland) have no female candidates.[45]


Party Candidates in previous election Candidates in current election
Conservative 631 647
Labour 631 631
Liberal Democrats 631 631
UKIP 558 624
Green 334 573
Scottish Green
Green (NI)
TUSC 37 135
SNP 59 59
Plaid Cymru 40 40
English Democrat 107 35
CISTA New 34
SDLP 18 18
Alliance 18 18
Sinn Féin 17 18
Christian Peoples Alliance 17 17
DUP 16 16
Monster Raving Loony 27 15
UUP 17 15
Yorkshire First New 14
National Health Action New 13
Left Unity New 10
Socialist (GB) 0 10
Communist 6 9
Christian 71 9
BNP 338 8
Socialist Labour 23 8
National Front 17 7
TUV 10 7
Workers Revolutionary 7 7
  Class War New 7
Pirate 9 6
Mebyon Kernow 6 6
  Above and Beyond Party New 5
Independence from Europe New 5
Communities United 1 5
Lincolnshire Independent 3 5
  Northern Party New 5
Workers' Party 0 5
  All Peoples' Party New 4
Animal Welfare 1 4
Liberal 5 4
North East Party New 4
Peace 3 4
Respect 11 4
  Whig Party New 4
Scottish Socialist 10 4
Alliance for Green Socialism 6 3
Liberty GB New 3
  We Are The Reality Party New 3
Communist League 2 2
National Liberal 1 2
  Patria Party New 2
  Patriotic Socialist Party New 2
SDP 2 2
Socialist Equality 2 2
Something New New 2
Young People's New 2
British Democratic New 1
Wessex Regionalist 1 1
  Al-Zebabist Nation of Ooog New 1
  FUKP New 1
People Before Profit 2 1
 Total number of candidates
4150 3971

External links[edit]


  1. ^ After nominations had closed and ballot papers were printed, the UKIP candidate in West Lancashire, Jack Sen, was suspended from the party for making an anti-Semitic tweet.
  2. ^ After nominations had closed and ballot papers were printed, the Labour candidate in Banff and Buchan, Sumon Hoque, was suspended from the Labour Party when he was charged with multiple driving offences, and the Labour candidate in Wellingborough, Richard Garvie, was also suspended after a conviction for fraud


  1. ^ General Election 2015 timetable, Parliament of the United Kingdom.
  2. ^ a b c d Election 2015: Scottish nominations close, BBC News (9 April 2015).
  3. ^ List of General Election candidates published Archived 28 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine, UTV (9 April 2015).
  4. ^ a b c d e f General Election nominations close, Belfast Telegraph (9 April 2015).
  5. ^ a b c d e f Nick Eardley, Election 2015: The candidates in numbers, BBC News, 22 April 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Google Sheets - create and edit spreadsheets online, for free".
  7. ^ a b c d Sophie Warnes & Patrick Scott, General Election 2015: Where are all the female candidates?, Mirror (27 March 2015).
  8. ^ Parliamentary Candidates UK, School of Public Policy, University College London.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Asa Bennett, Which party has the most career politicians standing for election – and how many have had a 'real job'?, Telegraph, 30 March 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d "General Election 2015 explained: What are their backgrounds, gender, ages and race?". The Independent. 14 April 2015.
  11. ^ a b Woods, Lauren (3 April 2015). "Meet the 18-year-old girl standing in Liverpool against Labour". The Guardian.
  12. ^ a b Merrill, James; De Caria, Federica (22 March 2014). "Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May". The Independent.
  13. ^ "Communist Party launches election manifesto". BBC News. 21 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Paisley & Renfrewshire South Parliamentary constituency". Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  15. ^ Tracy McVeigh, Mhairi Black: the 20-year-old student poised to unseat Douglas Alexander, Guardian (April 15, 2015).
  16. ^ a b c d Matt Fathan, General Election 2015: Natalie Bennett admits the Green party has a problem over its lack of black and ethnic minority candidates, Independent (April 22, 2015).
  17. ^ a b c Harvey Bhogal, Asian Candidates for the 2015 UK General Election, Desi Blitz (April 25, 2015).
  18. ^ Shefali Anand, In U.K. Election, British Indian Votes Are Crucial, Wall Street Journal (April 24, 2015).
  19. ^ Claire Williamson, Ed Miliband pranked by Northern Ireland's first Sikh candidate in General Election - Amandeep Singh Bhogal, Belfast Telegraph (April 16, 2015).
  20. ^ Meet the true blue Tory in a true blue turban out to win over voters of Upper Bann, Belfast Telegraph (April 25, 2015).
  21. ^ a b c Three former MPs among candidates competing in Northampton North, BBC News (11 April 2015).
  22. ^ Election 2015: Record candidate tally for Greens and UKIP, BBC News (10 April 2015).
  23. ^ Stephanie Wareham, Buckingham constituent mounts internet campaign for by-election if John Bercow is elected as MP again, Bucks Free Press (22 April 2015).
  24. ^ Lucy Fisher, Greens to contest 95% of seats in England and Wales, Times of London (April 10, 2015).
  25. ^ Sparrow, Andrew (10 April 2015). "Election 2015 live: Tories revive 'big society' while Labour attacks SNP". The Guardian.
  26. ^ "Party co-founded by Bob Crow to launch manifesto". ITV News. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
  27. ^ "Election 2015: English Democrats launch campaign with attack on 'traitors'". BBC News. 8 April 2015.
  28. ^ "Election 2015 smaller parties: English Democrats". BBC News. 23 April 2015.
  29. ^ a b c "From Loonies to Pirates: five smaller parties fighting for your vote". The Week. 24 April 2015.
  30. ^ "Election 2015: Christian People's Alliance launches manifesto". BBC News. 17 April 2015.
  31. ^ "Election 2015 smaller Parties: Yorkshire First". BBC News. 21 April 2015.
  32. ^ "Election 2015: NHA Party 'serious about fixing the NHS". BBC News. 23 April 2015.
  33. ^ "Election 2015: Socialist Party of Great Britain outlines election plans". BBC News. 27 April 2015.
  34. ^ "Election 2015 smaller parties: Communist Party of Britain". BBC News. 2 April 2015.
  35. ^ "Communist Party launches election manifesto". BBC News. 21 April 2015.
  36. ^ "Candidates for General Election". The Christian Party.
  37. ^ "Election 2015: Christian Party". BBC News. 8 April 2015.
  38. ^ "Election 2015 smaller parties: Mebyon Kernow". BBC News. 30 March 2015.
  39. ^ Matthews, Jenny (25 April 2015). "Unusual election pledges: Selfie laws, a cannabis summit and 'universal peace". BBC News.
  40. ^ Moss, Richard. "Election 2015: Why North East & Cumbria could be vital". BBC News.
  41. ^ "Election 2015 smaller parties: North East Party (NEP)". BBC News.
  42. ^ "Election 2015 smaller parties: Liberal Steve Radford". BBC News. 15 April 2015.
  43. ^ a b c Election 2015: 138 candidates vying for 18 NI seats, BBC News (9 April 2015).
  44. ^ "#GE2015 Complete NI Candidate List". Slugger O'Toole.
  45. ^ a b c d "One all male constituency; 24.6% candidates are female; 2 unionist parties running all male candidates #GE2015 (updated)". Slugger O'Toole.