2010 General Election Lost Deposits
A member of the public wishing to stand as a candidate in a constituency in a United Kingdom general election is required to put forward a £500 deposit. If the candidate wins at least 5% of the vote in that constituency then the deposit is returned to them. The purpose of such a system is to deter those who are not serious about standing for parliament from standing.
In the 2010 general election a total of 4,150 candidates stood so the sum of all of the deposits collected was £2,075,000. A total of 1,893 candidates lost their deposit amounting to a total of £946,500. We now summarise the total lost deposits for the three large parties and several smaller parties.
Lost Deposits in the 2010 General Election
Conservative: 2/631 lost deposits (£1,000)
Labour: 5/631 lost deposits (£2,500)
Liberal Democrat: 0/631 lost deposits (£0)
UKIP: 459/558 lost deposits (£229,500)
BNP: 266/338 lost deposits (£133,000)
SNP: 0/59 lost deposits (£0)
Green: 328/335 lost deposits (£164,000)
Plaid Cymru: 11/40 lost deposits (£5,500).
Immediately it can be seen that the larger and more well funded parties lost very few deposits whereas most candidates from the minor parties did lose their deposits. Unfortunately for the minor parties, continually fielding candidates can become quite expensive so they may be discouraged from fielding a full slate of candidates next time around. A good example of this is the Liberal Party (now merged into the Liberal Democrats) that, from the 1920s through to the 1970s, fielded fewer candidates than the Conservatives and Labour as very few candidates would have reached the then 12.5% deposit threshold.