Monday, July 19, 2010

Adrian Slade, Zac Goldsmith and election expenses

Recent mentions of the attention being paid to the election expenses of Zac Goldsmith in Richmond and of Adrian Slade inevitably put me in mind of this story.

In 1981 Adrian Slade won the Richmond seat on the Greater London Council for the Liberal Party, defeating the sitting Conservative Edward Leigh in the process. The Conservatives then lodged an election petition, contesting the result because of technical errors in Slade's return of expenses for the contest.

The process, however, left Adrian facing ruinous legal expenses. His friends rallied round and staged An Evening At Court on Sunday the 23 January 1983 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, to help him raise the money. As Smarter than the Average! tells you in exhaustive detail, many of the greats of British comedy performed that evening.

I moved down to Richmond a month or two after that, and it is fair to say that because of this case relations between the Liberals and Conservatives were not exactly warm.

The current attention being paid to victorious candidates' returns of elections expenses is unlikely to end well for anyone in the long run. But I have a good memory and find it hard not to enjoy Zac Goldsmith's discomfiture.


Simon Titley said...

The 'Smarter than the Average!' account of the show 'An Evening At Court' casts doubt on Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders making an appearance. I was in the audience that night and can confirm that French and Saunders were there. They performed one sketch, not from the stage but from one of the boxes. They were still unknowns then and it was the first time I had ever heard of them.

David said...

...and Edward Leigh is in parliament and still a complete arse.

Mark said...

Aren't you supposed to be being nice to multi-millionaire Zac Goldsmith and his chums now?

After all, you're notionally in the same coalition, as is Adrian Slade.

'All in this together', so to speak...