North Shropshire by-election: Anti-lockdown candidates get wiped out and lose deposits

Anti-lockdown candidates were wiped out at the North Shropshire by-election, losing their deposits and in some cases winning fewer votes than the Monster Raving Loony Party. The Freedom Alliance, which was set up this year “to resist the UK government’s draconian lockdown restrictions and attacks on medical freedom” came 12th out of 14 places in the contest, which was won by the Liberal Democrats. Candidate Earl Jesse won 57 votes, 0.15 per cent of the total, after sending out campaign leaflets showing him posing with a giant placard saying “free your face”.

The Freedom Alliance said he had been a “prominent member of the anti-lockdown resistance since the start of the state imposed tyranny in March 2020”, and would offer an alternative “to the captured legacy parties who are lining up to do the globalists’ work for them”. Asked by the Shropshire Star what the biggest issue facing the UK was, the martial arts instructor replied: “The tyrannical government overreach being used to create vaccine passports, no jab/no job situations and ultimately turning the UK into a dictatorship, not a democracy.” In 10th place was the right-wing populist party Heritage, which also ran on an anti-lockdown ticket.

The party, which was started last year by former Ukip London Assembly member David Kurten, said to vote for its candidate James Elliot for “no vaccine passports, no more lockdowns, low immigration, defending our culture and heritage, fighting political correctness and keeping petrol/diesel cars and gas boilers”. Mr Elliot received 79 votes, 0.21 per cent of the total. Heritage has vowed to resist what it calls “medical apartheid” and calls for an immediate end to all Covid-related restrictions, including mask-wearing and testing before international travel.

Both candidates finished below Howling Laud Hope, leader of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, who received 118 votes (0.31 per cent) and came eighth. One place above was Martin Daubney, the deputy leader of actor Laurence Fox’s Reclaim party. A former Brexit Party MEP and editor of the Loaded men’s magazine, he has also vocally opposed what he calls “totalitarian rules” around coronavirus and vaccinations.

Shortly before the North Shropshire poll, he wrote on Twitter that it was “criminal” that the UK had “surrendered liberty” to the pandemic.

Earl Jesse won just 57 votes in Thursday’s by-election (Freedom Alliance )

Ukip candidate Andrea Allen came in sixth place with 378 votes (0.99 per cent). The parish councillor did not make lockdown issues a core part of her campaign, but Ukip has opposed Covid measures.

The party has vowed to oppose any future lockdowns, saying it will “stand up against the constant attack on people’s personal freedoms and liberty”. Reform, the renamed Brexit Party, came one place above in fifth with 1,427 votes (4 per cent). Candidate Kirsty Walmsley caught Covid days before the by-election and was isolating during the last days of campaigning, but had shared several Twitter posts opposing measures intended to slow the spread of Omicron.

On Tuesday, she retweeted a Reform party post on Covid passes saying freedoms had been “sentenced to death by a million little QR codes”.

Ms Walmsley also shared tweets saying “vaccination must be a personal choice in a free country” and that Reform would “stand against lockdowns”.

The results mean that all anti-lockdown candidates lost their GBP500 deposits, which are only returned to those who receive more than 5 per cent of the vote.