Local elections 2012: Candidates asked to ‘pay’ party

Council leader Marco Cereste says: 'The money goes back into helping the councillor do their role in their ward.' Picture: Rowland Hobson/Peterborough ET
Council leader Marco Cereste says: 'The money goes back into helping the councillor do their role in their ward.' Picture: Rowland Hobson/Peterborough ET
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PEOPLE hoping to represent the major parties as city council election candidates next year have been asked to commit to paying them money if they win.

Potential candidates can now put their names forward for selection for Peterborough City Council elections in May 2012.

But winning Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors are expected to hand over some of their allowance of £7,962 for representing city wards.

If elected, a Labour candidate in Peterborough has to hand over 10 per cent (£796 per year); Conservatives are advised to pass on £300 per annum; and Liberal Democrats are urged to donate unspecified amounts.

The money goes towards campaign activity in the area, legal support and training sessions, but has been criticised by other parties that will have candidates in the elctions.

Cllr Keith Sharp, group leader for Peterborough Independents, said: “If they have money to spare it should go back into the ward. They are elected to represent their ward, not their parent party.”

Chair of the Peterborough UK Independence Party Robin Talbot said: “We discussed it but decided against it.

“If the parties don’t feel they need all of the allowances there should be a 10 per cent reduction in council tax.”

Conservative councillor Marco Cereste, leader of the council, said: “We don’t force anyone to contribute but it is recommended they pass on £25 a month, and most of the councillors do that.

“My view is that a lot of work is done for very little money. Councillors already struggle to cover their costs, so it’s not like they are being paid too much.

“The money goes back into helping the councillor do their role in their ward.”

Labour group leader Cllr Nazim Khan said: “The reason for it is we need funds for local campaigning. Nationally, the party is in difficulty financially and they are asking if we can find ways to locally fund things in Peterborough.”

The Liberal Democrats’ group leader Nick Sandford said: “Nobody running for us is ordered to contribute, but we do have one question on the application form, that is ‘would you give contributions to the Liberal Democrats’?”

A city council spokeswoman said: “It is entirely up to councillors what they do with their allowance once we have paid it to them. We have no legal right to say how a councillor spends their allowance.”