Thu, 28 Nov 2019
FATHER Christmas has been banned from standing as a candidate for Newbury in the upcoming General Election.
The ‘Grinches’ at West Berkshire Council prevented 58-year-old Newbury resident David Yates from standing as Santa Claus as they said it would “confuse and mislead voters”.
Despite having an uncanny resemblance to the man in red and filling in all the forms correctly, Mr Yates was told by council chief executive Nick Carter that ‘Santa Claus’ would not be on the ballot paper.
Mr Yates said he is contesting the decision and, if successful, it could force a remarkable by-election in Newbury in February.
Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News, Mr Yates – who stood as an Apolitical Party candidate in the 2015 General Election – said: “No doubt in coming weeks your pages will be full of the faces and thoughts of the candidates in the forthcoming General Election.
“How sad then, that the one name that means so much to many people at this time of year will be missing from the top of the ballot paper.
“Santa Claus, the prospective parliamentary candidate for the Apolitical Party in Newbury was denied his democratic right and refused entry in this year’s election.
“Santa’s nomination, despite being correct and in full compliance with electoral law, was rejected by Nick ‘the Grinch’ Carter, at the council offices in Market Street on Thursday.
“Santa was hoping to stand in this election on a message of peace and goodwill to all, but more importantly a warning to voters to be very careful when choosing our next MP, that we fully understand the implications of a potentially huge spike in borrowing to pay for all the ‘giveaways’ being promised by all parties in this general election and the possible catastrophic effect it could have on our grandchildren.”
West Berkshire Council spokeswoman Peta Stoddart-Crompton confirmed: “Yes, David Yates did seek to stand as Santa Claus.
“Candidates can use a name that they are commonly known by which is usually an abbreviation of their full name, eg Tom.
“As Mr Yates is not commonly known as Santa Claus, it was deemed to be both confusing and misleading.
“Judgements need to be made when considering all nominations and decisions taken as to whether the use of the particular name would confuse or mislead the electors within the constituency.”
However, Mr Yates said: “A lot of people do know me as Santa.
“I go to Denison Barracks [in Hermitage] and The Castle School in Newbury, where I hand out presents to the children.
“And when there is a Christmas raffle at the Coopers Arms [in Newbury], when Santa wins, they hand over the prize to me.
“I know I was never in a million years going to win, but it would have given people another choice.
“I think a lot of people are so sick and tired they won’t bother voting.
“That only plays into the big parties hands – and that saddens me.
“I’m sure I would have got more than the 304 votes I got last time.
“The council should have written to me to tell me I wasn’t able to stand. I filled all the forms out correctly and am being denied the chance to stand in the election.
“I have spoken with lawyers and I am going to contest the decision. It’s too late for me to stand now as nominations have closed, but who knows, it could force a by-election in February.