Happy Mondays’ Bez unable to run for MP after forgetting to register party name

Artist's Reality Party apparently too similar to pre-existing Realist party

Happy Mondays‘ Bez has been told he can’t run for MP in Salford because he hasn’t registered a new name for his political party, two days after launching his election campaign.

The Electoral Commission apparently wrote to Bez several times to warn that his Reality Party would be removed from the electoral register as it sounded too similar to pre-existing Realists’ Party (Commission rules forbid two parties having similar names as it might confuse the electorate). The musician was given a deadline of January 12, his campaign’s official launch day, to come up with a new name but forgot to respond.

Bez, real name Mark Berry, spent the day putting up posters around Salford urging voters to “join the revolution” instead. The musician was aiming to stand in his home city and claimed that the current MP, Labour’s Hazel Blears, had “let everyone down” in the local area.

Bez still has time to make himself eligible for the register, however. A spokesman for the Electoral Commission told Manchester Evening News: “There’s still time for the [Reality] party to submit a revised name to the Commission before candidates who want to stand for a party have to submit their nominations papers to Acting Returning Officers with the name of the registered party they are standing for.”

Bez’s Reality Party was established in 2014 as an anti-fracking party, but has a wide range of enviromental policies, including free public transport and free food and drinking water.