1. There will not be a record number of people standing in the election. Despite what I said yesterday – and said so confidently – the total number of candidates for this year is actually down on 2010. The Press Association’s provisional figure is 3,963 . That’s 170 lower than the total in 2010:
What’s caused the drop? It’s primarily because…
2. The total number of BNP candidates has slumped. In 2010 it was 388. This year it is eight. That’s a remarkable drop and much larger than I’d been expecting. The number of English Democrat candidates has also fallen, from 104 to 32. It seems the far-right will not be quite such an obvious presence at the election this time.
3. The Conservatives are fielding the most number of candidates across the whole of the UK. This is because unlike Labour and the Lib Dems they’ve decided to stand in 16 of the 18 seats in Northern Ireland – something about which I’m not sure the Ulster Unionists and DUP will be particularly thrilled. The two they’ve decided to miss are Femanagh & South Tyrone and Belfast North. Meanwhile Ukip is fielding a total of 624 candidates, up on 558 in 2010. There are 650 seats in the UK, which means there must be 26 seats which for whatever reason the party has decided not to bother with.
3. Ukip’s total has gone up, but its number of female candidates has gone down. Just 77 are women – six fewer than in 2010. It is the only one of the major parties to be fielding a smaller number of female candidates than five years ago. Here are this year’s respective percentages for the main parties. Note that, by a mathematical quirk of chance, the number for the Tories and Lib Dems is exactly the same:
The number of female candidates is 1,020, up from 854 in 2010. That’s 26% of the total. In 2010 it was 21%; in 2005 20%.
4. A total of 72 parties are fielding just one candidate. There are a further 145 candidates standing under the catch-all name Independent. There are 19 parties are fielding two candidates, six parties fielding three and 10 fielding four. In all, 140 different parties are fighting the election.
5. The Pirate Party has six candidates, two more than the Communists. The Monster Raving Loony Party has 15, the same as the Ulster Unionists. One of the biggest single-issue parties is Cannabis is Safer Than Alcohol (31 seats). Three of the smallest are Hoi Polloi (one), Nothing Borrowed Nothing Old Something New (one), and Al-Zebabist Nation of Ooog (one candidate, in the increasingly crowded field of Thanet South).