Hurt Girling complains of “pejorative' remarks

Tony Girling has accused fellow members of the Law Society's ruling council of subjecting him to a series of “pejorative” jibes after they voted down his plan to resurrect a version of the “Buggin's turn” system for electing the profession's leaders of the society.

Girling, the former president of the Law Society, had proposed that the council organise an informal ballot before the presidential elections in order to choose candidates for the deputy vice-presidency.

His working party on constitutional reform had suggested that, although any member of the council could stand for election, those who had the council's stamp of approval could use this endorsement in their election material.

But the plan, seen by some as a device to encourage candidates to step forward to oppose Equal Opportunities Commission chair Kamlesh Bahl, who has already announced her intention to stand in the elections, was easily defeated.

During the debate, council members including deputy vice-president Robert Sayer and vice-president Michael Mathews lined up to attack the proposal.

Mathews said during the debate that the move would “be seen by the profession” as a way of trying to influence the result of the election.

Another council member, Trevor Murray, said: “I don't know what political manipulation and chicanery is at work here. Mr Girling presents this as a nonchalent, insignificant proposal. In fact, it is intended to send out a signal that we are going back to 1995. It's a bad image of a club of buddies who don't really care about the wider profession.”

But Angus Andrew, who seconded Girling's proposal said: “I'm not out to get Kamlesh Bahl. She has never spoken to me. Under this proposal she would get my support.”

Girling said he would not respond to the “pejorative” remarks made during the debate. He said the proposal was a matter of principal.