May 5, 2017 / 2:16 PM / 6 months ago

British election candidate draws the short straw

LONDON (Reuters) - A candidate in Britain’s local elections literally drew the short straw on Friday when voting officials resorted to the traditional sudden-death method of breaking a deadlock.

After recounts failed to result in a winner in a northern English council, the returning officer grasped a long and a short straw in his hand, with equal lengths visible, and asked the two candidates to choose one.

The unlucky short straw signifying defeat was drawn by Daniel Carr of the national ruling Conservative Party.

Winner Lesley Rickerby of the opposition Liberal Democrats jumped and down with joy exclaiming “I did it!”

Under British electoral law, the official responsible for overseeing elections is allowed to choose any random method to decide the winner if the result after recounts is a dead heat.

The Electoral Commission, the independent body which oversees elections, calls it “drawing lots”. Other possible methods include choosing names out of a hat or randomly selecting names from sealed envelopes.

Friday’s drawing of the straws came in the northern England council of South Blyth.

Elsewhere in Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives made strong gains, strengthening her already good prospects of a big win in parliamentary elections next month.

Reporting by Emily Roe; editing by Stephen Addison

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