‘An exorbitant amount of money’ - Green Party candidate for Hertfordshire police and crime commissioner election fights to raise £5,000 deposit
- Credit: Archant
With the Herts police and crime commissioner election coming up in May, the Green Party have chosen a candidate – but he faces not being able to put himself forward unless he raises £5,000 in two months.
Alex Longmore, a former police officer who was medically retired in 2012 after he developed multiple sclerosis, has tried crowdfunding but had no success so far.
For any nomination to be valid, the £5,000 deposit must be submitted by the 4pm on April 7, along with the signatures of 100 ‘subscribers’ – voters from the police area.
Alex’s first attempt to raise funds attracted a total of only £310 from six backers, but he is not giving up.
“That my first crowdfunder failed isn’t surprising as it was around Christmas,” he said.
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“I will start another. I’m also considering abseiling. £5,000 to enter is ludicrous, an exorbitant amount.”
The £5,000 deposit dwarfs the £500 one must put up to stand for parliament, and as in a general election a candidate who wins less than five per cent of votes will lose his deposit.
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Alex is not the only observer who thinks £5,000 is a big ask.
County councillor Chris White, who will represent the Liberal Democrats in the election, said: “It is a really huge amount, but it’s not a problem for us. We do not intend to lose our deposit.”
Frank Radcliffe, a councillor in North Herts for Labour – who have not yet named a candidate – said: “I think the party will pay our deposit.
“It is a lot and it probably stops people from applying, but you need it fairly high to stop the Screaming Lord Sutches of this world.”
David Lloyd, the Conservative incumbent, said: “Like any candidate for any election, this goes through the constituency associations. I hope to get enough votes that the deposit will be returned.”
The UKIP candidate Mark Hughes said his £5,000 would come from his own pocket. He added: “It is a shame that the cost for standing is so high as the more people that engage in the democratic process the better.”
An Electoral Commission spokeswoman said that the £5,000 deposit was set by government legislation.
She said: “In a report last year we recommended that deposits be abolished for all elections, since we do not think it appropriate to put a financial barrier in the way.”
When the Comet asked the Home Office and the Cabinet Office why the deposit was £5,000, each said the other was responsible.