Page last updated at 09:22 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 10:22 UK

A record-breaking by-election?

Roy Castle presenting Record Breakers

It is just the sort of occasion Record Breakers host Roy Castle would have loved. The Haltemprice and Howden by-election had already made British electoral history due to the sheer number of candidates. But how many other electoral records were smashed on Thursday night?

NEW RECORD: LONGEST BALLOT PAPER

Fitting the names of all 26 candidates and their parties on to the ballot paper proved a real headache for the returning officer - not to mention the voters of Haltemprice and Howden. The previous record was held by the Newbury by-election in 1993 which had 19 candidates.

NEW RECORD: BIGGEST NUMBER OF INDEPENDENTS

Labour, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP and the BNP all gave Haltemprice and Howden a miss - but there were a record 14 independents, in addition to tiny outfits such as Church of the Militant Elvis Party and Make Politicians History.

NO RECORD: TURNOUT

With two of the big three parties sitting the contest out, pundits were predicting Haltemprice and Howden could produce the lowest turnout in by-election history. In the end, it was a respectable 35%, easily beating the lowest turnout in a post-war election of 19.9% in Leeds Central in 1999.

NEW RECORD: NUMBER OF LOST DEPOSITS

Twenty three out of the 26 candidates gained less than 5% of the vote, meaning they lost their 500 deposits. This easily beats the previous record set at Newbury in 1993, when 17 out of the 19 candidates lost their deposits.

NO RECORD: MOST UNPOPULAR CANDIDATE

A closely fought category this one, with 14 candidates polling fewer than 100 votes each. Independents Tony Farnon and Norman Scarth came joint bottom with eight votes each - but they did not beat the existing by-election record of five votes set by road safety campaigner Bill Boaks in 1982. Former Eurovision singer Ronnie Carroll, of the Make Politicians History Party, failed spectacularly in his mission to get no votes, gaining an almost respectable 29.

NO RECORD: MOST CANDIDATES ON A BY-ELECTION STAGE

Sadly health and safety chiefs ruled this one out - there were concerns that a temporary stage might collapse under the weight of 26 would-be MPs. Candidates stood in a semi-circle on the floor of Haltemprice Leisure Centre. The returning officer had a raised platform in the middle to read out the results.

NO RECORD: MOST CANDIDATES MAKING A SPEECH

All 26 could have made a speech if they had wanted to, but in the end only a handful chose to address the nation.

NEW (PARTY) RECORD: LOONIES LOSE THEIR DEPOSIT

Mad-Cow Girl extended the 25-year tradition of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party by failing to hold on to her 500 deposit after polling just 412 votes or 1.7%. The party's late founder Screaming Lord Sutch - who once came within 1% of retaining his deposit at a by-election - would surely have been proud.

NEW RECORD: BEST RESULT FOR SMALLER PARTIES

By coming second, The Green Party achieved its best ever result in a Parliamentary election (its best result at the 2005 general election was third). Its candidate Shan Oakes also beat the party's previous best performance at a by-election with 1,758 votes or 7.3% of the vote. Its previous best was 6.1%. But it was also a good night for the English Democrats, who came third by the slenderest margin after a recount - their best result in a Parliamentary election. English Democrat candidate Joanne Robinson gained 1,714 votes.

NO RECORD: BIGGEST SHARE OF THE VOTE

David Davis missed out on this one by a whisker. He gained 72% of all ballots cast - just 3% shy of the highest share ever recorded in a post war British by-election, when the Labour candidate Michael Carr won in Bootle in 1990, in a contest which saw the Tory candidate James Clappison poll just 9%.

NEW RECORD: LARGEST INCREASE IN TORY SHARE OF THE VOTE

David Davis increased his share of the vote by 24% - helped by the absence of a Labour or Liberal Democrat rival. The previous biggest increase came in 1951 when the Conservatives held Bristol West on an increase of 22.5%. The biggest increase in vote share ever was made by the Liberal Party, which gained 50.9% at the Bermondsey by-election in 1983.

Here are the results in full:

  • David Michael Davis - Conservative Party 17,113 votes
  • Shan Oakes - Green Party 1,758
  • Joanne Robinson - English Democrats 1,714
  • Tess Culnane - National Front Britain for the British 544
  • Gemma Dawn Garrett - Miss Great Britain Party 521
  • Jill Saward - Independent 492
  • Mad Cow-Girl - The Official Monster Raving Loony Party 412
  • Walter Edward Sweeney - Independent 238
  • John Nicholson - Independent 162
  • David Craig - Independent 135
  • David Pinder - The New Party 135
  • David Icke - No party listed 110
  • Hamish Howitt - Freedom 4 Choice 91
  • Christopher John Talbot - Socialist Equality Party 84
  • Grace Christine Astley - Independent 77
  • George Hargreaves - Christian Party 76
  • David Laurence Bishop - Church of the Militant Elvis Party 44
  • John Randle Upex - Independent 38
  • Greg Wood - Independent 32
  • Eamonn Fitzpatrick - Independent 31
  • Ronnie Carroll - Make Politicians History 29
  • Thomas Faithful Darwood - Independent 25
  • Christopher Mark Foren - Independent 23
  • Herbert Winford Crossman - Independent 11
  • Tony Farnon - Independent 8
  • Norman Scarth - Independent 8

Turnout 23,911 (34.03%)




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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Andover Advertiser Davis to face 25 rivals in election - 9 hrs ago
Western Telegraph Davis to face 25 rivals in election - 11 hrs ago
The Independent Ealing rape victim will stand against David Davis - 11 hrs ago



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