How much the Lib Dems spent fighting the Welsh Assembly elections

by Stephen Tall on August 30, 2007

The Electoral Commission has today published figures showing how much each of the political parties spent contesting May 2007’s Welsh Assembly elections.

In total the Lib Dems spent £407,407 – £239,799 was spent by the party, with a further £167,608 incurred by candidates. This was £33,791 less than the Tories’ total (£441,198) and £10,211 less than Paid Cymru (£417,618).

(Labour figures are not yet available, as the party’s total spending exceeded £250,000, which means they have until 2nd November to file their expenses.)

In 2003, the Welsh Lib Dems spent £372,695, attracting a total of 228,353 votes (combining the constituencies and regions) – which means the party’s total spending per vote was £1.63 per vote.

In 2007, the Welsh Lib Dems’ spending of £407,407 attracted a total 258,950 votes (+13%), or £1.57 per vote.

In both elections we won six seats, of course – but at least the party achieved greater value-for-money this time…

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Are you going to give us the REAL figures as well as the PUBLISHED figures? For example:
John Leech 2005 election contributions from a single published source (there were others, including a loan from his mum) = £23,000 cash
John Leech 2005 published election expenses (there were others) =

by Chris Paul on August 31, 2007 at 8:59 am. Reply #

… less than £11,000

by Chris Paul on August 31, 2007 at 9:00 am. Reply #

… cash and kind

by Chris Paul on August 31, 2007 at 9:00 am. Reply #

Don’t forget that the election expenses only include a relatively short period from the dissolution of Parliament until close of poll. It’s quite possible to spend lots of money in a constituency in late March and early April when you know there is going to be an election in May.

by Chris Keating on August 31, 2007 at 9:55 am. Reply #

Plaid had terriffic spending power in this election. It came down to big donations from non-welsh domiciles and unsurprisingly led to Plaid making an overnight decision to drop their calls for Labour only to spend “Welsh Money” in May.

Hypocrisy anyone?

by Dom on August 31, 2007 at 10:19 am. Reply #

Thanks for the number-crunching, Stephen. Are you easily able to give us the same “spend per vote” for the other parties?

It does seem a lot, doesn’t it? Over £1 per vote.

by Stuart on August 31, 2007 at 11:53 pm. Reply #

Er, thanks Chris Keating. I think we know that. But not what actullay happened in Man Wit according to any sensible analyis of the declared and undeclared contributions (timing and amounts), the volume of printed material distributed by each party, the details e.g. comparative declarations of ‘phone use, mail, having an internet cost, the contrived sharing of costs with other constituencies, the wages allegedly paid to certain workers, the timing of the contributions, the behaviour of certain mic-snatching individuals at thank you events, and so on.

Clearly there are examples of all parties appearing to spend way over the limits. In the case of a known marginal or by-election and all sides appearing to spend £25,000 or £100,000 then party employees and volunteers might shrug it off and say:

“They’re all at it”

But when only one party takes diabolical liberties in a particular constituency that is a different matter.

The Electoral Commission appear very poor at investigating over spending.

They do not even appear to analyse returns for strange patterns that indicate iffiness.

They do not require copies of literature to be submitted.

They appear to allow sharp practices like an aggregated invoice for the whole campaign from a “PR company” instead of proper paperwork on each item.

They are lax on the mis-use of parliamentary reports for campaigning.

It would be better to specify quotas of printed literature – which could rather easily be checked independently – than a total cost which is less easily monitored.

by Chris Paul on September 1, 2007 at 9:43 am. Reply #

I’m sure the Electoral Commission make sure they read through all posts on political blogs, and that they will give your thoughts appropiate consideration.

by Chris Keating on September 1, 2007 at 10:06 am. Reply #

I agree with Chris Paul about the laxity of the regulations governing elections, but it was his party which relaxed the rules in order to give themselves the financial space for their direct mail campaigns, telephone banks, and so on. The pre-Blair regulations served British politics well in my view. Obviously spending limits need to be reviewed on a regular basis to take into account changes in campaigning costs – and perhaps changes in campaigning techniques – but to allow virtually unlimited spending in constituencies outside election periods simply enables constituencies to be ‘bought’ by those with deep pockets. I won’t name any because that might be libellous, but I’m sure we all know of examples.

by tony hill on September 1, 2007 at 7:31 pm. Reply #

Mmmm Tony. I wasn’t commenting about the laxity of the regulations, which are of course not of the best, I was talking about the lack of monitoring and enforcement of the rules we do have.

Unenforced rules might as well not exist.

£5000 fines are meaningless if never enforced.

Suspension and disqualification need to become more likely as a £5,000 fine is hardly gooing to deter someone willing to go six figures over the limit, as some do.

One of the rare cases of a complaint being followed up may have led to a tragic death and certainly to much pain and distress with at least two of the parties concerned behaving badly, including Labour.

It would not be in any way libellous to say something that was true that could be proved. And it is hard to think of how saying that someone was doing something that is not illegal or even immoral i.e. spending heartily outside election periods could ever result in a libel action.

Certainly not a successful one.

Sarky Chris Keating: thanks.

by Chris Paul on September 2, 2007 at 2:06 pm. Reply #

I wonder if the fedral party will be looking at where the money was spent and asking why? I mean Mike German having a hired limo to dtive him around Wales was a bit much. And is Lord Rennard losing it? Firstly he told us that Cardiff West was a place to watch and so we did and we saw us spend some serious cash there.

“The Liberal Democrats outspent their rivals in Cardiff South & Penarth, Cardiff West (where they came fourth), Newport East and Torfaen. Labour had misplaced high hopes in Arfon, Blaenau Gwent and Carmarthen East & Dinefwr.”

When he came to Cardiff to give some of our candidates a “special breifing” which contained some very useful information. Lord Rennard said we could have an electronic copy of his presentation and the information contained within it only for us to be told the following day by a party employee that we were not to be trusted with it! I found that a really inspiring approach to boost our moral for the campaign in Pontypridd! Oh we spent all our own money, £3k ish, and terurned a 25% swing to give us 27+% of the vote. We are going to spend even less at the next elections as we think we can win it that way.

by Mike Powell on September 2, 2007 at 2:54 pm. Reply #

Thanks Chris, I do know something about libel laws and as I’d just suggested that some constituencies were ‘bought’ at the last election that is an assertion which I would not be able to prove. Sure, there are examples of over-spending at elections, although this is far less frequent than it used to be because the limits are so much higher. It is therefore my contention that it is the pre-election spending that is corrupting British politics because of the vast amounts of money that need to be raised to pump into the seats that will decide the outcome of a general election. Where overspending happens during an election campaign it is not in the interests of any of the parties to report it to or pursue it with the Electoral Commission because it is essentially a case of Mutually Assured Destruction – all parties have things to hide so there is an unspoken agreement not to pursue this sort of case. As far as I recall the Newark case was brought by rogue elements within the Labour Party.

by tony hill on September 2, 2007 at 4:50 pm. Reply #

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