The Isle of Wight Liberal Democrats have selected Nick Stuart of Brighstone as their new Prospective Parliamentary Candidate. He won a contested selection contest against Nicholas Belfitt who fought the seat for the party in 2017 when he gained 2,740 votes. This was only 3.7 per cent of the votes cast so the party lost its deposit.
A deposit of £500 must be paid by anybody standing in a general election. It is returned if the candidate gets at least five per cent of votes. In 2015 the Electoral Commission called for the deposit system to be scrapped calling it ‘out of date’ and ‘unreasonable’.
The commission said it had received a range of views about the need for deposits in elections. In general the larger parties were in favour as they claimed it deterred non-serious candidates, but smaller parties and independent candidates said it restricted their ability to participate in elections.
A report by the watchdog concluded: ‘We do not think that the ability to pay a specified fee is a relevant or appropriate criterion for determining access to the ballot paper.’