British election: PM Johnson takes centre stage, along with Elmo and Lord Buckethead

British Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson is flanked by fellow Uxbridge candidates Lord Buckethead (left) and Bobby Elmo Smith (right) in London on Dec 13, 2019. PHOTO: AP

LONDON (REUTERS) - It was a portentous moment. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had led his party to a thumping election victory, making Britain's divorce from the European Union all but certain.

But first, as a matter of traditional British courtesy, Mr Johnson acknowledged the candidates he defeated to comfortably retain his parliamentary seat west of London.

"I thank my fellow candidates in all their glory, Lord Buckethead, Elmo... Forgive me if I don't identify them all," he said.

He wasn't imagining things.

Lined up alongside the besuited Mr Johnson and his more traditional political foes were a man dressed as a furry red Sesame Street character who called himself Bobby Elmo Smith; Count Binface who wore a silver garbage can over his head and an improvised suit of armour; and Lord Buckethead, who donned a similar receptacle, coloured black, and a matching cape.

As Mr Johnson, 55, addressed the nation in his victory speech, "Elmo" quietly removed his costume behind him as the cameras rolled before taking a selfie with the back of the Prime Minister's head.

"At this stage, it does look as though this one-nation Conservative government has been given a powerful new mandate, to get Brexit done, and not just to get Brexit done but to unite this country and to take it forward," the leader declared.

Such colourful sightings are not new to British elections.

The Monster Raving Loony Party, for example, has been contesting seats for decades, and Buckethead was their candidate in Uxbridge.

British Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson is flanked by fellow Uxbridge candidates Bobby Elmo Smith (far left) and Count Binface in London on Dec 13, 2019. PHOTO: AP

The party's late founder, "Screaming Lord Sutch", was fond of saying he stood "for the four Rs: reading, writing and rock'n'roll. There's always a serious message through a bit of fun!"

Anyone who wants to stand for Parliament must pay a £500 (S$910) deposit, and to get the money back, you need to win at least 5 per cent of the vote.

The bad news for Elmo, Binface and Buckethead was that they fell well short.

Elmo won just eight votes to Mr Johnson's 25,351.

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