SALISBURY'S Labour candidate and his agent face an “embarrassing” trip to London's High Court next week after an administrative error saw them overspend their general election budget by more than £2,000.

Tom Corbin and agent Steve Fear must plead for relief to a judge because Labour HQ duplicated a number of campaign leaflets, posting multiple copies to households.

Under election rules candidates are allowed to send one freepost leaflet via Royal Mail to households.

The campaign itself is split into two parts with spending limits applying to both.

The long campaign began on December 19, with the short campaign startingcommencing when from the moment parliament was dissolved, which is 25 working days beforeprior to polling.

Over the long campaign the spending limit was £36,777, and whilst during the short campaign the cap was £14,777. During the long campaign Labour spent just £4,937 – which was on Christmas cards and a drive to get people to sign up to Labour.

Yet in the short campaign the party spent £17,087 after paying a £9,734 bill to Royal Mail for exceeding the freepost limit. At the May 7 election Cllr Corbin, who represents Bemerton on the city council, finished in second place with a 15 per cent share, 20,421 votes short of Conservative winner John Glen.

“It is very frustrating,” he said. “It would have been different if it had been a leaflet I was particularly excited about. It was a very bland leaflet which wasn’t the one we had finalised.

“The one we sent out had the wrong picture, had quotes which did not fit in the box. If there was ever anything you didn’t want to go to every elector this was the one.

“The administrative error was from head office, but it was our error that we must have sent them the first draft.

“It didn’t help in that respect. If you get a leaflet through the door it needs to be good. It had a negative impact, people were getting bombarded, some people got three of these.

“It would have been a completely different kettle of fish if it had been close. We have been very lucky that those of us who have been affected [by the HQ error], are all in Tory safe seats.”