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Reform UK faces scrutiny to validate the authenticity of all its candidates

Reform UK is facing pressure to substantiate the authenticity of all its candidates in the general election following concerns over several hopefuls who ran without providing photos, biographies, or contact details.

The party asserts that all 609 candidates on July 4 were genuine, although it acknowledges that some served as “paper candidates” without actively campaigning, solely to bolster the party’s vote share.

Amid revelations that certain candidates lacked detailed information, the Liberal Democrats have called on Reform to disclose more about these individuals.

A source from the Liberal Democrats remarked, “This raises doubts, and Reform should provide evidence. Transparency is crucial for the integrity of the democratic process.”

Several candidates listed on Reform’s election website are only identified by name and constituency, lacking further details or individual contact information beyond a general regional email address. Some candidates have no discernible online presence and did not participate in campaign activities. Electoral count photographs indicate that in some constituencies, the Reform candidate was absent while others were present.

Electoral regulations mandate that candidates disclose their full name and residency constituency, along with the nomination by 10 local voters and the appointment of an agent.

Questions remain about whether some Reform candidates are registered voters in their nominated constituencies, with instances where individuals with identical names and locations deny any affiliation.

While there is no evidence of fraudulent candidates, such an occurrence would constitute a serious electoral offense. Reform aimed to maximize its national vote share, aided by a comprehensive slate of candidates. Several candidates with limited visibility garnered substantial votes.

A Reform insider asserted, “All our candidates are genuinely real. Due to time constraints, some were paper candidates and did not campaign initially. A few initially listed as paper candidates eventually engaged in campaigning, including James McMurdock, who won his seat in South Basildon and East Thurrock.”

It has also been confirmed that Mark Matlock, initially suspected of being fictitious due to an AI-generated election photo, is indeed a real person. Matlock, who secured 1,758 votes, clarified the altered image was due to wardrobe adjustments and provided evidence of the original photo. He explained missing the election count due to illness.

Separately, Reform led in fundraising among political parties during the fourth week of the campaign, raising nearly £600,000, with significant contributions from new donor Zia Yusuf and others including businessman Jeremy Hosking and former Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, known for anti-vaccination views.

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