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In the British 1994 Elections for the European Parliament one R.J. Huggett stood in the Devon And East Plymouth constituency as a 'Literal Democrat'. Depsite his lack of political experience or his failure to put out any campaign material he succeeded in obtaining over 10,000 votes. (A 4.3% share of the vote.) This rather displeased the Liberal Democrats who lost the seat to the Conservatives by a mere 700 odd votes. They felt (and not without some justification) that Mr Hugget's candidacy had served to confuse the electorate who had only voted for him by mistake, whilst intending to vote for their candidate.

The Liberal Democrats had initially applied to the courts to have Mr Hugget's candidacy blocked on these very grounds, but their application was rejected. They tried again, after the election, to get the courts to overturn the result but failed once more. Unfortunately for them, British law at that time had failed to make any provision for the regulation of party names.

Perhaps appalled by the prospect of countless spoiler candidates, standing as "Connservatives" or somesuch, and thereby bringing democracy into disrepute, the British government passed the Registration of Political Parties Act 1998 with the aim of giving political parties the option of registering a specific party name or names and therby providing some degree of protection to a registered party of the use of that name.

Mr Hugget meanwhile stood as a 'Literal Democrat' in a further by-election or two, where he scraped together a few hundred votes but nothing on the scale of his success in Devon And East Plymouth and then seems to have retired back into the obscurity from which he emerged.


There was never any suggestion that Mr Hugget sought deliberately to confuse. His sole poltical policy seems to be that all citizens should have computer terminals and that all important decisions should therefore be made by means of electronic voting via said terminals; hence the term 'Literal Democracy'.

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