Local elections

There are no formal qualifications needed to become a councillor. However, to stand validly nominated you must fulfil the following -

Nomination paper

Every candidate must submit a Nomination Paper. This must be signed by ten local government electors for the ward or parish in which you wish to stand; a proposer, a seconder and eight assentors. The Nomination Paper must be delivered before the date given on the Notice of Election.

Legal requirements

To be qualified to be an elected councillor you must be:

  • 18 years of age or over at the date of nomination
  • a commonwealth citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or a citizen of another Member State of the European Community, and 
  • a local government elector within the city or, in the case of Rottingdean Parish, within the Parish or 4.8 kilometres of it, or
  • have worked in the area for the last 12 months
  • have lived, or owned land/property in the area for the last 12 months.

You cannot stand as a candidate if

If you are disqualified for any of the reasons set out in Section 80 of the Local Government Act 1972 you cannot stand as a candidate.

Consent to nomination

Your nomination is not valid unless you submit a Consent to Nomination. You must sign a declaration to the effect that you are qualified to stand, and the form must be attested by a witness. 

Appointment of election agent

If you wish to appoint another person to act as your election agent, you must complete an appointment of election agent form and the person you appoint must sign a declaration of acceptance. If no such application is received, the candidate is deemed to be acting as their own agent. 

Parliamentary elections

The next parliamentary elections are due to take place in May 2015. The process of standing as a candidate at a parliamentary election is very similar to that for standing in a local election, except for the shorter time scale that generally applies and not knowing the exact date of the election well in advance. When the date of the election is known, any person wanting to stand as a candidate should make this known to Electoral Services and, as with local elections, a nomination package will be issued as soon as possible. Completed nomination papers must be submitted before the date given on the Notice of Election. A deposit of £500 (in cash or a banker's draft) must accompany each nomination paper. This sum will be returned if the candidate secures more than one-twentieth (5%) of the total number of votes polled by all of the candidates; otherwise it is forfeited.

Qualifications for candidature

To be qualified to be elected as an MP a person must be aged 18 or over at the date of his or her nomination and a British subject. There are certain disqualifications for election which exist under Statute and Common Law, including, for example:

  • holding a paid office as defined in the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 as amended;
  • bankruptcy;
  • having been sentenced or ordered to be imprisoned or detained indefinitely or for more than one year, being detained in pursuance of such sentence anywhere in the British Isles or the Republic of Ireland, or being unlawfully at large when otherwise would be being detained;
  • being disqualified under any enactment relating to corrupt or illegal practices, and
  • being a member of the House of Lords. (This disqualification does not apply to hereditary peers other than those continuing to sit in the House of Lords by virtue of Section 2 of the House of Lords Act 1999.

European Parliamentary elections

The nomination of candidates for election to the European Parliament is unlikely to be handled locally. This process is administered by the Regional Returning Officer for the South East Region, who is formally appointed by Parliament. It will be possible to obtain further information about this from Electoral Services nearer to the time of the next election (June 2014).