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Unusual Candidates in the UK Election

Unusual Candidates in the UK Election

LONDON (Reuters) – When either Rishi Sunak or Keir Starmer takes the stage to celebrate victory in the British election on Friday, they will be accompanied by figures such as a man with a trash can on his head or a person dressed as “Elmo” from the Muppets.

Among the over 4,500 candidates vying for parliament’s 650 seats are those from fringe parties, single-issue campaigners, and individuals who are simply mocking the political process in a distinctively British fashion.

The most notable figure in the latter category is Count Binface, described as “an intergalactic space warrior, leader of the Recyclons from planet Sigma IX.” He is running against Prime Minister Sunak in his northern England constituency.

Clad in a silver outfit with a matching cape and a trash can helmet, Binface aims to make the July 4 election “Bindependence Day,” presenting himself as the “sane” choice for voters.

“That’s right, under the British system I get to stand against Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, it’s brilliant,” Binface, also known as comedian Jonathan Harvey, told Reuters outside parliament. There, he was mobbed by people eager to take photos with him.

Binface is already a familiar figure in British elections. He stood against ex-prime ministers Theresa May in 2017, then as Lord Buckethead, and Boris Johnson in 2019. He also ran in the London mayoral elections in 2021 and May this year, earning 24,000 votes.

His standout policies include capping the price of croissants at 1.10 pounds ($1.39), mandating national service for all former prime ministers, and representing the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest.

“It might be true that on Thursday night or Friday morning I haven’t beaten Rishi Sunak numerically,” said Binface, who has been endorsed by the Daily Star tabloid. “But I would argue the moral victory will be mine.”

The veterans of the UK comedic candidate scene belong to the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, formed in 1982. This year, the party is fielding 22 candidates, including Howling ‘Laud’ Hope, the party leader, Baron Von Thunderclap, and Earl Elvis of East Anglia.

Elsewhere, a candidate named “AI Steve” hopes to become the world’s first artificial intelligence lawmaker. Meanwhile, the Psychedelic Movement Party candidate in Southend pledges to ignore the law and open 24-hour cannabis cafes.

Some candidates openly admit to using the election for publicity stunts, such as Chris French, who is running after registering his pub “The Mitre” in Richmond, west London, as a political party.

Polls suggest that Labour leader Starmer will be Britain’s next leader. “Elmo” from the Muppets will be running for his seat.

Like Count Binface, Elmo has participated in numerous elections, although Bobby Smith, the man in the furry red costume, has a serious aim: to change the law on fathers’ rights.

Binface insists on the importance of protecting democracy, especially when over half of the eligible voters on Earth will cast their votes this year.

“I’m here to cherish it, to defend it, to celebrate the fact that anyone in the UK can not just vote but can also stand for election, regardless of their platform or how idiotic they might look,” he said. “I urge everyone … to go out and vote, and most importantly, make your vote count.”

($1 = 0.7890 pounds)

Source: Reuters