The last candidate to get zero votes in a UK Parliamentary election

Courtesy of the excellent dataset UK House of Commons Election Results at Constituency Level, the last candidate to get zero votes in a UK general election was…

John Curling, standing for the Liberal Party in Devizes in 1865.

Other candidates were available and did get voted for. Those other candidates were two Conservatives and, it being a two member constituency, they both won, making it one Conservative hold and one Conservative gain from Liberal.

According to Parliamentary election expense records, Curling spent £16 and 6 shillings on his campaign.

A report of his death records that

His great ambition was to enter Parliament, and he made several attempts to go through the ordeal of election, offering himself to Dartmouth, Tavistock, and Devizes, but in vain. By profession he was a solicitor, and was employed chiefly in Parliamentary work. He drew up several bills, among them several eccentric measures … He never stirred out without carrying a supply of biscuits for distressed dogs and cats.

He may not have made it to Parliament, but he did make the Parliamentary record books.

PS A fine piece of pedantry about my headline:

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