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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 April, 2005, 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK
Election draws 3,500 candidates
A vote being placed in a ballot box
Candidates have to pay a 500 deposit to seek election as an MP
More than 3,500 candidates from 170 political parties are standing in 5 May's general election.

The three main parties are fielding almost full slates in England, Scotland and Wales, but are not opposing speaker Michael Martin in his constituency.

The Lib Dems are also again standing aside in Wyre Forest where Dr Richard Taylor (Independent) defends his seat.

UKIP is fielding 489 candidates, the Greens have 181, while 118 British National Party candidates are standing.

500 deposit

Robert-Kilroy Silk's Veritas party is fielding candidates in 63 seats.

Nominations for the 646 Commons seats up for grabs in the election closed at 1600 on Tuesday.

Labour has would-be MPs standing in 627 seats - every seat in England, Scotland and Wales save for the Speaker's seat.

Mr Martin will stand, by convention, unopposed by the three main English parties as "the Speaker" in Glasgow North East.

While the Tories also have candidates in all mainland seats, except for Mr Martin's, as well as three in Northern Ireland. A total of 630.

The Lib Dems, meanwhile, are standing in 626 constituencies.

The Scottish National Party have 59 candidates, while Plaid Cymru are fielding 40 candidates.

There are 155 independent candidates standing. Candidates need to get 5% of the vote to retain their 500 deposit.

Among the smaller parties, there are single issue groups like the Publican Party Free to Smoke Party, the Jam Wrestling Party, Rainbow Dream Ticket Party and Tigers eye the party for kids.



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