Official Monster Raving Loony Party
LeaderAlan "Howling Laud" Hope
FounderScreaming Lord Sutch
Founded16 June 1982; 41 years ago (16 June 1982)
Headquarters59 New Barn Close, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 5HU
ColoursYellow and black

The Official Monster Raving Loony Party (OMRLP) is a political party[2] established in the United Kingdom in 1982 by the musician David Sutch, also known as Screaming Lord Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow, or simply Lord Sutch.[3] It is notable for its deliberately bizarre policies and it effectively exists to satirise British politics, and to offer itself as an alternative for protest voters, especially in constituencies where the party holding a safe seat is unlikely to lose it.


Sutch era

Starting in 1963, David Sutch, head of the rock group Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages, stood in British parliamentary elections under a range of party names, initially as the National Teenage Party candidate. At that time the minimum voting age was 21. The party's name was intended to highlight what Sutch and others viewed as hypocrisy, since teenagers were unable to vote because of their supposed immaturity while the adults running the country were involved in scandals such as the Profumo affair.

Sutch moved to America in 1968.[4] After being shot during a mugging attempt while living in the United States, Sutch returned to Britain and to politics during the 1980s. The Raving Loony name first appeared at the Bermondsey by-election of 1983.

A similar concept had appeared earlier in the Election Night Special sketch on the television comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus, in which the Silly and Sensible parties competed; and a similar skit by The Goodies, in which Graeme Garden stood as a Science Loony. A Science Fiction Looney candidate had also competed in the 1976 Cambridge by-election.

Two others were important in the formation of the OMRLP: John Desmond Dougrez-Lewis stood in the Crosby by-election of 1981 (won by the Social Democratic Party's co-founder Shirley Williams); and Dougrez-Lewis stood in the by-election as Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F'tang-F'tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel, taken from the Election Night Special Monty Python sketch. He had changed his name by deed poll from John Desmond Lewis, on behalf of the Cambridge University Raving Loony Society (Curls), an "anti-political party" and charity fundraising group formed largely as a fun counter-response to increasingly polarised student politics in Cambridge. It was responsible for a number of fun stunts. Its Oxford University equivalents were the "Oxford Raving Lunatics". Dougrez-Lewis became Sutch's agent at the notorious Bermondsey by-election, where the OMRLP banner was first officially unfurled. Reverting to his original name, Dougrez-Lewis stood for the new party in Cambridge in the 1983 general election.[5]

Another serial offbeat by-election candidate was Commander Bill Boaks, a retired World War II hero who took part in sinking the Bismarck. Boaks campaigned and stood for election for over 30 years[6] on limited funds, always on the issue of road safety. Boaks proved influential on Sutch's direction as the leading anti-politician: "It's the ones who don't vote you really want, because they're the ones who think."[citation needed]

Boaks thought that increased traffic and more roads would cause problems, and he addressed road safety with flamboyant campaigning and a variety of tactics, including private prosecution of public figures who escaped public prosecution for drunk driving.[citation needed] He successfully campaigned with Sutch and others to pedestrianise London's Carnaby Street.[7] While recovering from being struck by a motorcycle, Boaks was one of Sutch's counting agents at Bermondsey in 1983. Following Boaks's death, popular opinion towards road safety has become closer to his views.

Screaming Lord Sutch committed suicide on 16 June 1999 while suffering from clinical depression after his mother, Annie, died in 1998.[8] A biography of Sutch, The Man Who Was Screaming Lord Sutch (by Graham Sharpe, the media relations manager of bookmaker William Hill), was published in April 2005, describing what remained of the party as "wannabes, never-would-bes and some bloody-well-shouldn't-bes".[9]


Sutch's funeral – organised by his lifetime friend, the session drummer Carlo Little – was attended by members of the OMRLP and Raving Loony Green Giant Party, including Stuart Hughes, who with Freddie Zapp brought along a huge floral tribute shaped as an OMRLP rosette. The running of the OMRLP fell to Alan "Howling Laud" Hope and his cat, Catmando, who were the joint winners of the 1999 membership ballot for the replacement for Sutch.[10] Although Hope took over as party leader after Sutch's death, the real day-to-day running of the party has always been done by other party members.

The OMRLP fielded 15 candidates in the 2001 general election, at which it had its best general election results to date.

The manifesto, entitled The Manicfesto, for the 2005 general election featured the major commitment of their long held pledge to abolish income tax, citing as always that it was only meant to be a temporary measure during the Napoleonic Wars.[11] Also included was another old staple, the "Putting Parliament on Wheels" idea of having Parliament sit throughout the country rather than solely in London – with special emphasis this time in its creation negating the need for national/regional assemblies.[11]

The OMRLP has fielded candidates since 2001, with reduced success and losing their deposits. "Top Cat" Owen is the only member of the current OMRLP to poll over 1,000 votes (he polled 2,859 votes in the 1994 European elections).

The OMRLP's official headquarters was originally the Golden Lion Hotel in Ashburton, Devon, then the Dog & Partridge pub at Yateley in Hampshire, but this was lost shortly after the 2005 general election. Conference venues are now chosen in advance: the 2006 conference was held at Torrington in Devon, and the 2007 conference was held in Jersey.[12] The conference was held in Blackpool in 2017.[13]

The party's last elected representative was R. U. Seerius (formerly Jon Brewer) on the 11 member Sawley Parish Council in Derbyshire, first elected (uncontested) in 2005. He was no longer a member as of May 2007, having failed to appear in no fewer than 11 statutory meetings during his time in office, due to illness.[14]

The OMRLP succeeded in standing in the two by-elections of 19 July 2007 in Sedgefield and Ealing Southall, but again achieving derisory results: Alan Hope acquiring 129 votes (0.46%) and John Cartwright taking 188 (0.51%), beating the English Democrats but coming behind the Christian Party of the Reverend George Hargreaves and David Braid.[15][16]

In recognition that reforms were needed, Peter 'T.C.' Owen was moved from the honorary position of party chairman to that of deputy leader (and thus effective day-to-day leader) of the OMRLP, whilst Anthony "The Jersey Flyer" Blyth (owner of the Ommaroo and a member of the Jersey Heritage Trust) took over Owen's role. Owen is one of four Raving Loonies to have scored more than 1000 votes in an election.

On 31 May 2017 Hope was interviewed by Andrew Neil on the BBC's Daily Politics programme.[17]

Electoral performance

In 1987, the OMRLP won its first seat on Ashburton Town Council in Devon, as Alan "Howling Laud" Hope was elected unopposed. He subsequently became deputy mayor and later mayor of Ashburton in 1998 (mainly opposed by the local Conservatives; they allegedly never forgave him for becoming a member of the OMRLP)[citation needed] until he moved to Hampshire after Sutch's death. For over a decade, his hotel The Golden Lion in Ashburton (referred to by some in the party as "The Mucky Mog") was the party's headquarters and conference centre.

The first party member to win a vote, rather than an uncontested election, was Stuart Hughes, taking the "safe" Conservative Party seat of Sidmouth Woolbrook on East Devon District Council in May 1991. He also took a seat on Sidmouth Town Council from the Conservatives the following day. His success was met with hostility from the local Tories. Hughes's reaction was to attempt to make their lives a misery for the next three years by refusing to pay his Community Charge (popularly known as the Poll Tax), then dumping scrap metal in the middle of the council chambers to the value of his unpaid tax when threatened with legal action. He also formed an alliance known as the Coastals (because of the seats they held) of Independents and the sole Green Party councillor, giving East Devon's ruling Conservatives the first true opposition they had faced for decades (the local Liberal Democrat and Labour parties being negligible).[citation needed]

Hughes retained his seats with increased majorities in subsequent elections, and took the Devon County Council seat from the local party's chief whip in the council.[18] To date, two councillors have subsequently become mayors: Alan Hope in Ashburton in Devon and Chris "Screwy" Driver on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent.[19]

At the Bootle by-election in May 1990, the Loony candidate (Sutch) received more votes than the candidate for the continuing Social Democrats. The story was a major headline in many UK newspapers; ironically, the by-election itself had attracted little coverage. Bootle is still regarded by the party as their most significant result in politics,[20] albeit one largely lampooning the political world.

In the 2019 Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, the OMRLP candidate Lady Lily the Pink polled more votes than the United Kingdom Independence Party.[21] The party got a record number of votes in the 2019 general election, when it polled 9,739 votes. Having fielded 24 candidates, this was, numerically, the party's highest vote at a general election. However, it has yet to improve on its best vote share of 0.1% at the 1992 general election.

The party has yet to save its deposit at a by-election, although the party's former leader, Screaming Lord Sutch, came close at the 1994 Rotherham by-election, winning 4.2% of the vote. The threshold for saving a deposit is 5%.[22]

General elections

Election Candidates Votes % of votes
1983 11 3,105 0.0
1987 5 1,951 0.0
1992 25 7,929 0.1
1997 24 7,906 0.0
2001 15 6,655 0.0
2005 19 6,311 0.0
2010 27 7,510 0.00
2015 27 3,898 0.0
2017 12 3,890 0.0
2019 24 9,739 0.0


48th Parliament

Election Candidate Votes % of votes
1983 Bermondsey by-election David Sutch 97 0.3
1983 Darlington by-election 374 0.7

49th Parliament

Election Candidate Votes % of votes
1983 Penrith and The Border by-election Screaming Lord Sutch 412 1.1
1984 Chesterfield by-election David Sutch 178 0.3
1985 Brecon and Radnor by-election 202 0.5
1986 Fulham by-election 134 0.4
1986 Newcastle-under-Lyme by-election 277 0.7

50th Parliament

Election Candidate Votes % of votes
1988 Kensington by-election Screaming Lord Sutch 61 0.3
1988 Glasgow Govan by-election Lord Sutch 174 0.6
1988 Epping Forest by-election David Sutch 208 0.6
1989 Richmond (Yorks) by-election David "Lord" Sutch 167 0.3
1989 Vale of Glamorgan by-election "Lord" David Sutch 266 0.5
1989 Vauxhall by-election "Lord" David Sutch 106 0.4
1990 Mid Staffordshire by-election Lord David Sutch 336 0.6
May 1990 Bootle by-election 418 1.2
1990 Knowsley South by-election David Sutch 197 0.9
November 1990 Bootle by-election Lord David Sutch 310 1.1
1990 Bradford North by-election Wild Willi Beckett 210 0.6
1991 Ribble Valley by-election Screaming Lord Sutch 278 0.6
1991 Neath by-election David Sutch 263 0.8
1991 Monmouth by-election Screaming Lord Sutch 314 0.7
1991 Liverpool Walton by-election 546 1.4

51st Parliament

Election Candidate Votes % of votes
1993 Newbury by-election Lord David Sutch 432 0.7
1993 Christchurch by-election David Sutch 404 0.8
1994 Rotherham by-election Screaming Lord Sutch 1,114 4.2
1994 Bradford South by-election David Sutch 727 2.4
1994 Eastleigh by-election 783 1.4
1995 Islwyn by-election Screaming Lord Sutch 506 2.2
1995 Perth and Kinross by-election 586 1.4
1995 Littleborough and Saddleworth by-election 782 1.9
1996 Hemsworth by-election David Sutch 652 3.0
1996 South East Staffordshire by-election 506 1.2

52nd Parliament

Election Candidate Votes % of votes
1997 Uxbridge by-election Screaming Lord Sutch 396 1.3
1997 Winchester by-election Lord David Sutch 316 0.6
1999 Eddisbury by-election Alan Hope 238 0.7
1999 Kensington and Chelsea by-election Howling Laud Hope 20 0.1

53rd Parliament

Election Candidate Votes % of votes
2002 Ogmore by-election Leslie Edwards 187 1.0
2003 Brent East by-election Alan Hope 59 0.3
2004 Leicester South by-election R. U. Seerius 225 0.8
2004 Hartlepool by-election Alan Hope 80 0.3

54th Parliament

Election Candidate Votes % of votes
2006 Blaenau Gwent by-elections Alan "Howling Laud" Hope 318 1.2
2006 Bromley and Chislehurst by-election John Cartwright 132 0.5
2007 Ealing Southall by-election 188 0.5
2007 Sedgefield by-election Alan Hope 129 0.5
2008 Crewe and Nantwich by-election The Flying Brick 236 0.6
2008 Henley by-election Bananaman Owen 242 0.7
2008 Haltemprice and Howden by-election Mad Cow-Girl 412 1.7
2009 Norwich North by-election Alan Hope 144 0.4

55th Parliament

Election Candidate Votes % of votes
2011 Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election Nick "The Flying Brick" Delves 145 0.4
2011 Barnsley Central by-election Howling Laud Hope 198 0.8
2011 Leicester South by-election 553 1.6
2012 Bradford West by-election 111 0.3
2012 Croydon North by-election John Cartwright 110 0.4
2012 Manchester Central by-election Howling Laud Hope 78 0.5
2013 Eastleigh by-election 136 0.3
2013 South Shields by-election Alan "Howling Laud" Hope 197 0.8
2014 Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election Captain Chaplington-Smythe 288 1.2
2014 Newark by-election Nick The Flying Brick 168 0.4
2014 Clacton by-election Alan "Howling Laud" Hope 127 0.4
2014 Rochester and Strood by-election Hairy Knorm Davidson 151 0.4

56th Parliament

Election Candidate Votes % of votes
2015 Oldham West and Royton by-election Sir Oink A-Lot 141 0.5
2016 Tooting by-election Alan "Howling Laud" Hope 54 0.2
2016 Witney by-election Mad Hatter 129 0.3
2016 Richmond Park by-election Alan "Howling Laud" Hope 184 0.5
2017 Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election The Incredible Flying Brick 127 0.6

57th Parliament

Election Candidate Votes % of votes
2018 Lewisham East by-election Howling Laud Hope 93 0.4
2019 Peterborough by-election Alan "Howling Laud" Hope 112 0.3
2019 Brecon and Radnorshire by-election Lady Lily Pink 334 1.0

58th Parliament

Election Candidate Votes % of votes
2021 Hartlepool by-election The Incredible Flying Brick 104 0.3
2021 Batley and Spen by-election Howling Laud Hope 107 0.3
2021 Old Bexley and Sidcup by-election Mad Mike Young 94 0.4
2021 North Shropshire by-election Alan "Howling Laud" Hope 118 0.3
2022 Birmingham Erdington by-election The Good Knight Sir NosDa 49[23] 0.3
2022 Wakefield by-election Sir Archibald Stanton Earl 'Eaton 171 0.6
2022 City of Chester by-election Howling Laud Hope 156 0.6
2023 West Lancashire by-election Howling Laud Hope 210 0.9
2023 Selby and Ainsty by-election Sir Archibald Stanton 172 0.5
2023 Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election Howling Laud Hope 32 0.1
2023 Tamworth by-election Howling Laud Hope 155 0.6
2023 Mid Bedfordshire by-election Ann Kelly 249 0.6

Parish and town councillors

As of 2021, the party has seven parish and town councillors, one via the Molesey Residents Association.

Councillor Council
Howling Laud Hope (Cllr Alan Hope)[24] Fleet Town Council, Hampshire
Baron Von Thunderclap[25] Bolney Parish, Sussex
Monkey the Drummer[26] Molesey Parish, Surrey
Norm the Storm[26] West Grinstead and Partridge Green Parish, West Sussex
Sarah Mad Cow[26] Lower Carlton Parish, Lincolnshire
Sir Giles Greenwood[26] Kemberton Parish, Shropshire
The Iconic Arty Pole[26] Great Carlton Parish, Lincolnshire

2010 William Hill branding

For the 2010 general election, the OMRLP used the description "Monster Raving Loony William Hill Party",[27] which was met with criticism by some members,[citation needed] with John Cartwright, Loony candidate in Croydon, publicly stating: "I am not and will not be a mercenary, or an advert, for a commercial company during the course of the election campaign."[28]


The statement of accounts for the period 1 January to 31 December 2008[29] outlines membership at 1,354, made up of 173 paying members and 1,181 "lifetime but non-paying". It currently costs £12 per year for membership, which includes a party rosette, a certificate of insanity, a Loony badge, a party membership card and a letter from the party's leader.[30] A £14.50 membership is available for those overseas.

Sir Patrick Moore (1923–2012), the British TV amateur astronomer, was the finance minister of the party for a short time. He once said that the Monster Raving Loony Party "had an advantage over all the other parties, in that they knew they were loonies".[31]

In 1992, the Glasgow band Hugh Reed and the Velvet Underpants released the song "Vote Monster Raving Looney", despite not having any actual ties to the party.

Policies and electoral strategy

The OMRLP are distinguished by having a deliberately bizarre manifesto, which contains things that seem to be impossible or too absurd to implement – usually to highlight what they see as real-life absurdities. Despite its satirical nature, some of the things that have featured in Loony manifestos have actually become law, such as "passports for pets", abolition of dog licences and all-day pub openings.[32]

Other suggestions so far unadopted included minting a 99p coin and forbidding greyhound racing in order to "stop the country going to the dogs".[20]

The Loonies generally field as many candidates as possible in United Kingdom general elections, some (but by no means all) standing under ridiculous names they have adopted via deed poll. Sutch himself stood against all three main party leaders (John Major, Neil Kinnock and Paddy Ashdown) in the 1992 general election. Parliamentary candidates have to pay their own deposit (which currently stands at £500) and cover all of their expenses. No OMRLP candidate has managed to get the required 5% of the popular vote needed to retain their deposit, but this does not stop people standing. Sutch came closest with 4.1% and over a thousand votes at the 1994 Rotherham by-election, whilst Stuart Hughes still holds the record for the largest number of votes for a Loony candidate at a Parliamentary election, with 1,442 at the 1992 general election in the Honiton seat in east Devon. The all-time highest vote achieved was by comedian Danny Blue, who secured 3,339 votes in the 1994 European elections under the pseudonym of "John Major". Bamford had also acted as an election agent for Lindi St Clair's rival Corrective Party, and was a former close associate of Stuart Hughes.

In the run-up to the 2011 Alternative Vote referendum, the party adopted an equivocal stance, advising its supporters, on 8 April, to "vote as you see fit".[33] In response to mainstream parties debating Brexit, the OMRLP suggested sending Noel Edmonds to the European Parliament "because he understands Deal or No Deal".[21] It has advocated an "al dente Brexit" rather than a hard or soft Brexit.[21]

In popular culture

Screaming Lord Sutch appeared as himself in the opening episode of television sitcom The New Statesman, standing for election in the seat of Haltemprice, which was won by Alan B'Stard for the Conservative Party. Sutch and his party polled second, ahead of Labour and the SDP.

The party's regular appearances at by-elections were satirised in the Blackadder the Third episode Dish and Dishonesty, with a candidate from the Standing at the Back Dressed Stupidly and Looking Stupid Party standing as one of Baldrick's rivals in a by-election held in a rotten borough.

A candidate was shown canvasing for a by-election on the One Foot in the Grave episode "I'll Retire to Bedlam" where a regional news programme filmed him knocking on the Meldrews' door. He explained the nature of the party, that they had some clearly set out policies, and that people could choose to vote for them as a protest vote; all while dressed vaguely as a bee. Later in the episode, another candidate for one of the major parties was shaking hands with patients in hospital, then came up to Victor to shake his hand and asked if Victor would be voting for him. Victor replied that he would be voting for the Monster Raving Loony Party and that he found their political platform the most sensible of all the major parties.

See also


  1. ^ "Official Monster Raving Loony Party : Membership". Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  2. ^ "View registration". The Electoral Commission.
  3. ^ "Screaming Lord Sutch – History & Timeline". The Loony Archive. Archived from the original on 26 August 2009. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Sutch's life". Record Collector Magazine. 28 March 2009.
  5. ^ "Statement of persons nominated and notice of poll". Cambridge University Raving Looney Society. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  6. ^ Tidy, Joe (29 March 2015). "Is This The Worst Election Candidate Ever?". Sky News. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  7. ^ Hemming, Henry (2 April 2009). In Search of the English Eccentric. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 9781848541542. Retrieved 13 February 2019 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ "Suicide verdict on Sutch". BBC News. 31 October 1999. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  9. ^ Sharpe, Graham (2005). The Man Who Was Screaming Lord Sutch. Aurum Press. ISBN 1-85410-983-9.
  10. ^ "Loony's Past R I P". 14 October 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  11. ^ a b "2005 GENERAL ELECTION MANIFESTO". 18 May 2011. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  12. ^ "Past Conferences". The Official Monster Raving Loony Party. 25 June 2011.
  13. ^ Images, Christopher Furlong/Getty (29 September 2017). "At the Monster Raving Loony party conference in Blackpool – in pictures". The Guardian.
  14. ^ "Latest news". Sawley Parish Council. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  15. ^ Wells, Anthony. "Sedgefield". UK Polling Report. Archived from the original on 23 January 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  16. ^ Wells, Anthony. "Ealing Southall". UK Polling Report. Archived from the original on 26 October 2017. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  17. ^ "Monster Raving Loony Party is 'ahead of our time' says leader". BBC News. 31 May 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  18. ^ "Councillor details – Councillor Stuart Hughes". 12 June 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  19. ^ "Loony elected as town's new Mayor". Kent Online. 29 May 2002.
  20. ^ a b Chakelian, Anoosh (15 December 2014). "What are the Monster Raving Loony Party's election plans?". New Statesman. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  21. ^ a b c Forrest, Adam (2 August 2019). "Ukip beaten by Monster Raving Loony party at by-election". The Independent.
  22. ^ "Election results 2019: Greens lose the most deposits". BBC News. 13 December 2019.
  23. ^ "Birmingham Erdington Parliamentary by-election". Birmingham City Council. 3 March 2022. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  24. ^ "Fleet Town Council – Councillor Contact Details". Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  25. ^ "Election of Parish Councillors for Bolney Parish Council" (PDF). 3 April 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  26. ^ a b c d e "Results of the May 6th Elections 2021". The Official Monster Raving Loony Party. 9 May 2021. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  27. ^ "The Official Monster Raving Loony Party; Vote For Insanity". 3 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  28. ^ Cardiff Central Retrospective, The Annual Report and Continuing Manifesto – MMX Edition p. 23, Pocket Propaganda Press, Cardiff. ISSN 2045-1660.
  29. ^ "Official Monster Raving Loony Party Statement of Accounts 1 January – 31 December 2008" (PDF). Electoral Commission. Retrieved 31 August 2014.[permanent dead link]
  30. ^ "The Official Monster Raving Loony Party". 12 February 2015. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  31. ^ "Obituary: Patrick Moore". BBC News UK. 9 December 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  32. ^ Edwards, Brian (6 May 2015). "7 Monster Raving Loony Party policies which are now part of UK law". Mirror. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  33. ^ "AV? | The Official Monster Raving Loony Party". 8 April 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2014.


Further reading