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Names on Ballot Papers (Guidance)

Volume 597: debated on Thursday 18 June 2015

9. What steps the Electoral Commission is taking to make guidance clearer on the use of commonly used names on ballot papers. (900403)

The commission first clarified its guidance on the law on commonly used names in 2011, then restated that guidance in March 2015 when it became clear that there was some confusion surrounding the rules. The Electoral Commission keeps its guidance under regular review.

Advice from the Electoral Commission at the recent local elections suggested that middle names were not acceptable as commonly used names, leaving the wonderful councillor John Nigel Steward Anderdon on the ballot paper simply as “Nige”. What assurances can my hon. Friend give me that guidance will be clearer in the future?

The law that we in this House passed in 2006 states that a candidate may state a commonly used forename if it is different from any other forename that he or she has; therefore the use of a second or third Christian name—for example, Nigel or Boris—does not qualify under the 2006 legislation. The Electoral Commission is reviewing the matter, and if people have representations they would like to make, the commission would be grateful to receive them.