Officials in poll name U-turn

West Norfolk Green Party election candidates.''Parliamentary Candidate: Michael De Whalley ANL-150316-084754009

West Norfolk Green Party election candidates.''Parliamentary Candidate: Michael De Whalley ANL-150316-084754009

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Election officials have backed down in a row over how a West Norfolk candidate’s name should appear on ballot papers.

Last month, Michael de Whalley hit out at what he called “bureaucracy gone mad” after he was told that his nomination forms would only be accepted under his full name, Andrew Michael de Whalley.

But Mr de Whalley says he has now been advised he can use Michael as a commonly used name on the ballot paper.

An Electoral Commission spokesman confirmed to the Lynn News that was the case, but said the position could still be open to challenge.

The commission also maintains that names that are listed as “commonly used” should be different from a candidate’s given names in order to fully comply with that aspect of electoral law.

Mr de Whalley, who is contesting both the North West Norfolk Parliamentary constituency and the Grimston borough council ward, has welcomed the change of heart, which he says he was first made aware of when he submitted his Parliamentary election nomination papers on Thursday.

He said: “I can only assume that the change of heart is down to an outcry over this ill-thought-out ruling.”

His stance has also won support from political opponents, with Conservative borough councillor Alistair Beales describing the 
commission’s previous position as “nonsensical” on Twitter.

Breckland district ocuncillor Ian Sherwood also expressed support, saying the matter needed to be resolved.

But Mr de Whalley believes it is “unreasonable” for the commission to warn that the position could still be challenged.

And his borough council candidacy will also remain under his full name, something which he fears may confuse some voters on polling day.

He said: “I hope it won’t be too confusing for people in the Grimston ward, as most of them know me by now, anyway.”