Law Soc fears 'horrific' expenses may limit range of candidates in elections

CANDIDATES in the presidential elections spent as much as £30,000 on their campaigns to win office, it has been revealed.

The Law Society will now examine the possibility of controlling electioneering expenditure as it gears up for a second year of contested elections.

A debate on election procedures at the recent council meeting heard claims that the “horrific” expenses incurred by candidates may severely limit the range of people standing.

Treasurer Mike Howells said he understood Law Society president Martin Mears' bid for office cost as much as £40,000, while other candidates incurred expenses of around £30,000.

Mears said the figure for his campaign was “nothing like” that high, but other candidates did not deny the sums mentioned.

The debate was prompted by a realisation that existing electoral procedures were unable to cope with last year's elections, the first in 40 years.

There was little support for council-backed candidates this year, described as the “kiss of death” by one speaker.

Robert Sayer said he intended standing again for the deputy vice-presidency this year and then for the presidency the year after.

Deputy vice-president Tony Girling has indicated he will stand for one of the posts. Other candidates are also believed to be considering standing again.

Among suggestions for reform were a proportional voting system, a ban on block voting and the handing of the election itself to the Electoral Reform Society.

The current disputes between staff and the presidency prompted suggestions that contested elections be confined to the vice or deputy vice-presidency to allow incumbents time to accustom themselves before becoming president.