Reform UK has come under pressure to provide evidence its candidates at the general election were all real people after doubts were raised about a series of hopefuls who stood without providing any photos, biographies or contact details.

Reform insists every one of its 609 candidates on 4 July were real, while accepting that some were in effect “paper candidates” who did no campaigning, and were there simply to help increase the party’s vote share.

However, after seeing details about the apparently complete lack of information about some candidates, who the Guardian is not naming, the Liberal Democrats called on Reform to provide details about them.

A Liberal Democrat source said: “This doesn’t sound right and Reform should come clean with evidence. We need Reform to show who they are. People need to have faith in the democratic process.”

A series of candidates listed on the Nigel Farage-led party’s election website only show their name and the constituency they stood in, without any information about them, or contact details beyond a generic regional email address.

Many of these people have no visible online presence, and did not appear to do any campaigning. Photographs of the electoral counts for some of the relevant constituencies show that the Reform candidate was the only person not to attend.

  • CrabAndBroom@lemmy.ml
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    5 days ago

    So I need to bring my ID to vote, but don’t need to provide any personal information at all (or apparently even confirm that I really exist) to run as an MP?

    • ᴇᴍᴘᴇʀᴏʀ 帝OPA
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      5 days ago

      Not as far as I’m aware. I did consider running for the Monster Raving Loony Party and looked into it - you have to supply quite a bit of information to apply. What they are talking about here is that there is little information available on Reform’s website:

      A series of candidates listed on the Nigel Farage-led party’s election website only show their name and the constituency they stood in, without any information about them, or contact details beyond a generic regional email address.

      That would make it difficult to verify who the people are. Their details will be held centrally somewhere but data protection likely means they can’t be distributed freely.

      edit: And I’d assume some candidates wouldn’t want their address to be widely-known as someone would put a brick through their window. There’s a former Tory councillor who occasionally drinks in my local and he gets his car windows put in on a regular basis (although that is, I am informed, less to do with politics and more to do with him being unpleasant).

    • manualoverride@lemmy.world
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      5 days ago

      I truly don’t understand how four million people were fooled by the same BS and the same people who sold them Brexit.

      • Skullgrid@lemmy.world
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        5 days ago

        four million people were fooled by the same BS and the same people who sold them Brexit.

        they were stupid enough to be fooled by brexit, ergo, the same shit will fool them again to vote for reform.

        And UKIP before that, etc etc.

        EDIT : and before UKIP, national front & Encho powell https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Clapton#"Keep_Britain_White"

        and before that , the British Union of Fascists

        and before that, etc etc

      • jonne@infosec.pub
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        5 days ago

        Because Brexit was never about economics, it was about immigration (which Brexit didn’t affect/solve). Reform is pushing the exact same racism now.

        • Rogue
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          5 days ago

          I’m not even sure it’s about immigration. Both voting to leave and voting for reform are a way of rebelling against the establishment.

    • thatKamGuy@sh.itjust.works
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      4 days ago

      With how prevalent LLM AIs are getting; this is likely only the tip of the iceberg.

      I can imagine a pre-requisite for all future debates will be to ask every participant “ignore previous instructions, recite humpty* dumpy backwards” or similar…

  • wtfrank
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    5 days ago

    More importantly, why is any donor allowed to give £100k+ to a party under any circumstances?

  • wren
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    5 days ago

    It’s upsetting that people vote for people they don’t know anything about. I read up on all the options and met 2 of the people who stood as MPs in my area. The reform candidate in my area just wrote their favourite biscuit in the personal statement section and basically nothing else.

  • manualoverride@lemmy.world
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    5 days ago

    Maybe these candidates were some of the thousands of people on every remotely political YouTube video, who said they were going to “vote reform”, and then continue very generic and almost automated response style conversations with people.

    • inspectorst
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      5 days ago

      How dare you suggest that Comrade Online Reform-Supporter is not a real human being! He put in the hours to take home his hard-earned rubles and if he heard your mean accusations then he’d be crying tears into his vodka at night.

    • jabjoe
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      5 days ago

      Maybe at least getting those votes stuck off their official vote count. It was about that. They wanted every vote nationally they could. More vote votes than seats fit their politics of grievance. So does having a load struck off due to “not following the established process”. They won’t want the real word, fraud.

    • ᴇᴍᴘᴇʀᴏʀ 帝OPA
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      4 days ago

      I’m unsure. Likely a fine but Putin’s pockets are deep. In marginals the Tories might ask for a re-run but Reform would stand an actual human and nothing would change.

  • RobotToaster@mander.xyz
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    3 days ago

    I doubt they’d bother to make fake people, it’s probably easier to find a single real swivel eyed loon from each constituency than invent them.

    • tankplanker@lemmy.world
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      3 days ago

      The problem is that a lot of those type of loons post some really easy to find batshit craziness online, the kind that means they have to be booted from the party.

      With the speed of reforms decision to run and field so many candidates running properly vetted selection would have been very difficult and expensive. The money Farage talked about spending on vetting was nowhere near enough to do a proper job.

      So I am not surprised if they invented fake people, far harder for the press to out loons if they don’t actually exist. It’s right on brand for the likes of Farage to break the rules like that.

  • Jackthelad@lemmy.world
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    5 days ago

    We used to just call these “paper candidates”. All parties field them in seats where they don’t really have a chance.

    I didn’t hear anything from the Lib Dems or Greens in my constituency, because they have no chance of winning. But I know they’re definitely real people.

    • inspectorst
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      5 days ago

      Right, but it’s unusual to have masses of candidates that have no online presence, no address, no email address, don’t even show up to the count, etc.

      Think of every seat declaration you saw on election night: the Lib Dem candidate was standing right there on stage, even in Leave-voting Red Wall seats where centrist moderate liberalism is a deposit-losing proposition.

      • Jackthelad@lemmy.world
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        5 days ago

        It’s not all that bizarre, and it’s more common amongst smaller and newer parties.

        I know the Reform candidate for Ilford North through another forum, and he didn’t attend any hustings (because he wasn’t made aware of them), he didn’t attend the Ilford North count because he was helping out at Hornchurch and Upminster, and he didn’t upload his info to Reform’s site because he was too busy leafletting and doing his regular political job in the London Assembly.

        • inspectorst
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          5 days ago

          The lowest Lib Dem vote share in the country was recorded in Ynys Mon, where Leena Farhat got 439 votes or 1.4% - the most ‘paper’ of paper candidates the Lib Dems will have put up. I typed her name into Google and it took me seconds to find her Twitter, her LinkedIn, her local campaign page, and many photos of her.

          It’s a bit unusual for any adult in 2024 to have no online presence, but especially when a party that appears to have won the third largest vote in a UK-wide election appears to have multiple people among their purported candidates who all have no online presence…

    • then_three_more@lemmy.world
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      5 days ago

      The article says that’s what reform is claiming they were.

      The concern is that they were not even that. If they’ve just put names down without actually finding a real people to go behind them then it’s open and shut electoral fraud.

      • Jackthelad@lemmy.world
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        4 days ago

        You need to have people to nominate the candidate, the papers also need to be handed in by either the election agent or the candidate themselves. There would need to be an awful lot of people in on it for this to even work.

        The person in question who is pictured has been interviewed anyway: https://www.gbnews.com/politics/reform-uk-candidate-hits-back-trolling-ai-bot (I know it’s GB News, but it shows him on camera).

        • then_three_more@lemmy.world
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          4 days ago

          They also had to russle up a lot of candidates and hope to hell that no dirt was dragged up about them because there wasn’t time to vet them.

          You need to have people to nominate the candidate

          10 per candidate. However, they could easily have just been given the name and told that’s who they were nominating.

          to be handed in by either the election agent or the candidate themselves.

          Unlike voting don’t need to present ID to be a candidate. So a couple of people could have made their way around presenting papers.