Britain goes to the polls: Defector in costs claim

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The Independent Online
THE Liberal Democrat by-election candidate whose last-minute defection to Labour gravely embarrassed his former party will be held personally liable for the cost of his campaign, Liberal activists say, writes Andrew Gilligan.

Alec Kellaway polled only 821 votes in the east London constituency of Newham North East after publicly renouncing the Liberal Democrats less than 24 hours before the polls opened. Following consultations with Liberal Democrat headquarters, Mr Kellaway's agent, Vera Head, also resigned - a move which, party officials say, will expose him to campaign costs of several thousand pounds.

But a Home Office spokeswoman said election law did not specify who paid the bills, opening up the possibility of three-way court battles between Mr Kellaway, the local party, and creditors.

Mr Kellaway was unavailable for comment last night.