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Laurence Fox barred from London mayor race after nomination forms error

Actor Laurence Fox will not be a candidate at the London mayoral elections after failing to fill in the nomination forms properly.

London Elects, which administers the mayoral and London Assembly elections, said the Reclaim Party leader had submitted his nomination papers shortly before the deadline on Wednesday, but they were subsequently found to contain errors that it was then too late to correct.

In now-deleted tweets, Mr Fox said his party had “checked, double checked and then triple checked our nominations” and would appeal against the decision, which he claimed was the result of “political corruption”.

But in an email also tweeted by the actor, election officials said nomination papers from two boroughs did not have the 10 supporters required, while three supporters from other boroughs “could not be reconciled to voter register records”.

On Thursday, lawyers for Mr Fox and the Reclaim Party contacted London Elects seeking urgent “clarification” on the reasons for declaring his nomination invalid.

Laurence Fox
Laurence Fox has been ruled out of the mayoral race (Lucy North/PA)

The email said Mr Fox’s nomination as a London-wide assembly member candidate was valid, and added his party would be refunded the £20,000 fee and deposit paid for the mayoral nomination, plus another £5,000 Reclaim had overpaid “in error”.

In a statement, London Elects said: “The Reclaim Party candidate’s representatives met with London Elects for the first time on March 26, less than 24 hours before the close of the nominations deadline.

“At that time, the paperwork was incomplete.

“Mr Fox’s representatives were advised to ensure that completed forms were submitted well before the Wednesday 4pm statutory deadline.

“The paperwork was submitted very shortly before 4pm.

“Upon inspection, the nomination forms contained errors which – the deadline having passed – were too late for Mr Fox’s team to correct.

“The conclusion of London Elects was that the requirements of the nomination process were not completed by the deadline.

“The Greater London returning officer is bound by electoral law and has no ability to allow anything other than fully compliant nominations, submitted by the deadline, to stand.”

It is understood that there is no avenue for appealing against the decision that Mr Fox was not correctly nominated.

In a legal letter tweeted by the Reclaim Party on Thursday, Mr Fox’s lawyers Wedlake Bell asked London Elects to provide further details on the reasons for declaring his nomination invalid, saying it was “unclear” why he had been excluded from the contest.

At the last London mayoral election in 2021, Mr Fox received just 47,634 votes – less than 2% of the total cast – and lost his £10,000 deposit, which is only returned to candidates receiving more than 5% of the vote.

The full list of candidates for the mayoral election was published on Thursday afternoon, and did not include Mr Fox or YouTuber Niko Omilana, whose nomination papers were also found to be invalid.

The two main candidates are expected to be Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan and the Conservative Susan Hall.

In an interview with Prospect magazine on Wednesday, Ms Hall dismissed allegations that she had reposted Islamophobic tweets as complaints about “hurty words”.

She said: “I’ll tell you what’s jarring. Jarring is the fact that poor people are having to pay £12.50 a day (the charge for London’s ultra-low emissions zone) that they literally cannot afford. That is real. And that isn’t just hurty words.”

Other candidates include Liberal Democrat Rob Blackie, Green Zoe Garbett, Reform UK’s Howard Cox, and perennial election contender Count Binface.

Animal Welfare Party candidate Femy Amin, SDP candidate Amy Gallagher, London Real Party candidate Brian Rose, Britain First’s Nick Scanlon, and independents Andreas Michli, Tarun Ghulati and Natalie Campbell complete the list.