Voting in Hertsmere on 4 July

Everything you need to know

Oliver Dowden acceptance speech 2017
Oliver Dowden addresses the crowd after his 2017 victory in Hertsmere.

Who are the Hertsmere candidates?

Ray BolsterVeteran peace campaignerInd
Oliver DowdenIncumbent and Deputy PMCon
John HumphriesShenley management consultantGreen
Emma MatanleBriefing writer and councillorLib Dem
Darren SelkusArmy veteran and business ownerReform
Josh TapperCivil servant and GoggleboxerLabour
General Election 2024, the candidates in Hertsmere, in alphabetical order
Conservative MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Dowden in long shot turns to his left and smiles at the camera in Downing Street
The incumbent
Grid of four photos of candidates in the Hertsmere Parliamentary constituency for the 2024 UK general election - clockwise from top left: Josh Tapper Labour, John Humphries Green, Darren Selkust Reform, Emma Matanle Liberal Democrat - their surnames are overlaid
The pretenders

There’s some detail about all of these candidates in the party guides we’ve already published – click the links in the table.

We updated this post on 7 June 2024 to reflect the final nominations for Hertsmere. There’s a complete list of candidates in all constituencies on the BBC web site. There’s a further update, made on 1 July, adding some information about Green dandidate John Humphries and Independent Ray Bolster.

The time has come. The election has been called and is in the diary for Thursday 4 July. You presently have no MP. Nobody does. There are now only candidates. Oliver Dowden, although he is still Deputy Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, has carefully changed his social media bios to reflect this.

By election day, some of the 4,515 individuals – the largest number of candidates ever for a UK general election – who managed to get their papers in by the deadline will have wthdrawn and some will have lost the support of their parties but none can now be removed from ballot papers, so some electors will have to be careful not to vote for someone who has stood down. We also notice that YouTuber Niko Omilana, who has registered for election in multiple constituencies, contrary to the rules, is still on the list – eleven times.

The deadline for submitting a nomination passed on 7 June. Georgia Elliott-Smith from Gina Miller’s True & Fair Party, said she was going to stand here in Hertsmere but then disappeared and has not submitted her papers (looks like only four candidates ultimately got their forms in for True and Fair). Independent Ray Bolster, a mysterious late entry, has caught us by surprise. We know nothing about Ray and hope to learn more soon. Obviously we’re disappointed there’ll be no surprise come-back for the levitating Natural Law Party.

Close-up head-and-shoulders portrait of Hertsmere Parliamentary candidate Ray Bolster. He's an elderly man in an outside location, smiling, wearing a purple jumper.
Ray Bolster, independent candidate for Hertsmere

Update for 31 June 2024. We now know something about all six of the candidates standing in Hertsmere (the largest number of candidates in Hertsmere since 2010). Mystery independent Ray Bolster is a mystery no more. According to the Welwyn & Hatfield Times Bolster is an RAF Medical Corps veteran and a long-time anti-racism campaigner who fought against anti-semitism in London’s East End in the 1960s and was a founder of the Watford Anti-Racist committee in the 1970s. He’s picked this unlikely location to campaign for the Gaza vote, calling for an immediate ceasefire. We suspect Bolster may attract a few votes from voters who don’t feel represented by any of the larger parties on this issue but his complete absence from the first month of the campaign doesn’t bode well for his vote share. We’re pretty sure he doesn’t have a web site, a social media presence or any printed material. Hardly anyone entering a polling booth will know who he is. Good luck, Ray!

And the Greens. From recent press, we also now know more about our Green candidate, John Humphries. The party made a commitment to stand in every constituency in England and Wales at this election – a critical step for any national party with ambitions to government – and the Greens have stood in Hertsmere before, in 2010, 2017 and 2019. Humphries was the candidate in 2019. On the face of it the party of the environment ought to do well in a constituency that’s literally in the London green belt.

In some parts of the UK there’s been an effective but sometimes awkward alliance formed between Greens of the ecological variety and people more motivated by conservation and opposition to development. There’s a tension within the party between the historically more narrowly-focused environmentalists and the progressives with an interest in social issues and redistribution. It’s hard to imagine suburban green belt-warriors feeling much of a connection with the trans activists and de-growthers in the national party. The manifestos don’t tell us much about the green belt. Reform UK and the Liberals don’t mention it at all. Labour, Conservatives and Greens have essentially identical positions on protecting the green belt. No party dare go near the idea of dismantling the whole ridiculous apparatus and replacing it, for instance, with a rational set of protections for nature and green space while permitting a desperately needed house building.

PartyFrom the manifestoMentions
Conservative“Retaining our cast-iron commitment to protect the Green Belt from uncontrolled development…”2
Green“Elected Greens would seek to strengthen and prevent any rollback of existing protections of the Green Belt”2
Labour“Labour is committed to preserving
the green belt which has served
England’s towns and cities well
over many decades.”
Liberal Democrat“Everyone should be able to enjoy open green spaces, clean blue rivers and the beauty of Britain’s coast.”0
Reform UK“Legislate to ban ULEZ Clean Air Zones and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. Scrapping Net Zero.”0
Mentions of the term ‘green belt’ in the 2024 party manifestos

The parties and the history. As a loyal reader of Radlett Wire you’ll be aware of our four-part guide to all the parties standing in Hertsmere: part one, the fringe parties (including Reform and the Greens); part two, the Lib Dems; part three. Labour; part four, the Conservatives. You’ll also have read our definitive history of the Hertsmere constituency, which goes back all the way to our very first MP, in 1983, disgraced Thatcher ally Cecil Parkinson.

Your new constituency. Like many constituencies in Britain, Hertsmere is a different shape for this election. In fact, it’s smaller, both geographically and in population terms. The purpose of the boundary changes was principally to bring the ‘electorate quota’ – the number of voters living in each constituency – to between 69,724 and 77,062 voters. Population change over the decades had caused some, mostly urban, constituencies to get much bigger than that and some, mostly rural, constituencies much smaller. The changes are thought to have strengthened the Conservative Party’s electoral advantage in Britain, but not by much – and certainly not by the enormous amount that was originally feared. The overall number of constituencies hasn’t changed.

Map showing the changes to the boundaries of the Hertsmere Parliamentary constituency for the 2024 general election in the UK
Boundary changes

The effect in Hertsmere is not drastic – one Bushey ward has moved out of the constituency and one Hatfield ward in. The overall effect will be to reduce the voting-age population of the Parliamentary constituency by about 7%. Pollsters and news outlets have had the considerable headache of reflecting the new populations in their data. For instance, the Electoral Calculus projection we’ve been sharing here regularly is for the new constituency boundaries.

Voting in Radlett, whatever the election, is run by Hertsmere Council. They run the count and provide the polling places. The returning officer works for the council (when Sunderland and Newcastle race to get their results out first it’s a battle between two councils). Hertsmere will publish a list of polling places closer to the date of the election but it’s safe to assume the Radlett ones will be at Phillimore Hall, the Radlett Centre and the United Synagogue as usual.

Registering to vote. You’ve got until midnight on 18 June to get your name on the register. Once you’re registered you can apply for a postal vote but you’ll have to do it by the end of the following day, 19 June. If you think you won’t be able to get to the polling station on the day you can send someone to vote for you – a proxy vote. You’ve got until 5pm on 26 June to apply (and, if everything goes pear-shaped, you can set up an emergency proxy at any time up till 5pm on polling day).

Fun fact. You’ve still got time to stand for election yourself. You’ll need ten people to nominate you and £500, though.

Voter ID is now required for all UK elections. The Conservative government thought this would give them an electoral advantage, since young voters and poorer urban populations are less likely to have good ID, but Jacob Rees-Mogg thinks it’s backfired. Here’s a list of permitted forms of ID. Check it carefully because you may find you don’t have the right kind. It helps to be old. For instance, senior railcards and 60+ Oyster cards are okay but not young persons’ railcards or student ID. You don’t need to take the polling card you’ll be sent in the post. If you’ve got no valid ID you’ve got until 5pm on 26 June to apply for a voter authority certificate (you don’t need ID to get one, which seems like a bit of a loophole, but you will need to know your National Insurance number).

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *