Laurence Fox barred from London mayoral election after submitting 'invalid' papers

Laurence Fox has been barred from taking part in the London mayoral elections after submitting invalid nomination papers.

London Elects, the impartial organisation that oversees the City Hall elections, said that Mr Fox’s application to stand in the May 2 election was “not valid”.

The former actor and right-wing political activist, who lost his £10,000 when he stood in the 2021 election after polling only 1.9 per cent of the votes cast, said he planned to appeal and claimed he had been deliberately blocked from standing.

Mayoral candidates are required to supply nomination forms signed by 10 electors in each of the capital’s 33 boroughs. The deadline was 4pm on Wednesday.

A full list of candidates is due to be published later on Thursday.

According to an email published on X by Mr Fox on Thursday night, a London Elects official told his election agents that “the Islington and Lambeth nomination papers only had nine valid subscribers, not the required 10”.

The email, apparently from Alex Conway, the deputy Greater London returning officer, added: “Three further subscribers for other boroughs could not be reconciled to voter register records.”

Mr Fox is the leader of the Reclaim party, which he founded in 2020 to change freedom of speech laws.

London Elects said in a statement on Wednesday night: “The Reclaim Party candidate’s representatives met with London Elects for the first time on Tuesday 26 March, 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.

Laurence Fox speaking to reporters outside the Royal Courts Of Justice (PA)
Laurence Fox speaking to reporters outside the Royal Courts Of Justice (PA)

“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.”

Mr Fox said on X: “Our campaign manager will be at City Hall first thing to sort this error out. I can understand why they would try and stop me standing on the platform of putting them all out of their useless jobs.

“We checked, double checked and then triple checked our nominations, because we knew they would try this. The team made sure that every box was ticked, every T crossed and every I dotted. We will appeal this decision. This is pure political corruption.”

He added: “If I was a threat then fine, but I’m not even a threat. I would have stood to abolish [the mayor’s] job.”

London Elects will repay the £20,000 to the Reclaim party that it submitted to cover Mr Fox’s nomination and the cost of including him in the election brochure that is delivered to all London households. It said a further £5,000 that had been “overpaid in error” would also be returned.

In 2021, Mr Fox received 47,634 first-preference votes, putting him sixth out of 20 candidates. He was eliminated after the first round of voting and lost his deposit after failing to reach the threshold of five per cent of votes cast.

His application to stand for election as a “London-wide” member of the London Assembly has been accepted.

If the turnout is similar to the last election, he will need about 64,000 votes to retain his £5,000 deposit and about 88,000 votes to get elected to the assembly, the cross-party 25-member body that scrutinises the mayor.

Mr Fox has said he had been “cancelled” as an actor after expressing controversial views on numerous subjects.

In the 2021 mayoral election, he stood on an “anti-woke” platform and broke with the consensus of encouraging uptake of the covid vaccine as he called for lockdown to be lifted.

He was sacked by GB News last September after questioning who would want to “shag” a female journalist. Earlier this month, Ofcom ruled the episode of Dan Wootton Tonight had broken broadcasting rules.