General Election 2017: Liberal Democrats spent twice as much as Conservatives to come second

Tim Farron with Liberal Democrat supporters in St Albans.

Tim Farron with Liberal Democrat supporters in St Albans. - Credit: Archant

St Albans Lib Dems spent TWICE as much as the Tories during the General Election.

A mock tabloid paper Kerry Pollard's campaign produced for his St Albans campaign. Photo: FRASER WHI

A mock tabloid paper Kerry Pollard's campaign produced for his St Albans campaign. Photo: FRASER WHIELDON - Credit: Archant

Liberal candidate Daisy Cooper blew £14,059 coming second, including £10,711 on shoving leaflets through peoples’ doors.

Meanwhile Tory Anne Main won the seat for a bargain, having spent just £7,773.

Asked why she spent so much on leaflets, Ms Cooper said: “Because we know it really works.

“There’s a reason people get leaflets from pizza companies: it’s because they read them.

“During the campaign, we often heard how we were the only party people heard from. We had some good feedback.

“We did a lot of digital campaigning as well.”

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Her 18,462 votes cost 76p per vote, while Mrs Main’s 24,571 votes cost 31p each.

Visits from top Lib Dems, including Nick Clegg and Tim Farron, were not included in the spending.

These are considered national spending, which will be released later this year.

The Lib Dems’ bonanza also included £2,043 on advertising, and £2998 on printing.

Anne Main referenced the Lib Dems leaflet splurge in her victory speech, saying: “I have to say it was a campaign that triumphed over deluges of leaflets.”

While she spent less, Mrs Main received a greater amount in donations than Ms Cooper.

The Tory MP received £1,948 in donations, to Ms Cooper’s £1,068.

On her pared down campaign, Mrs Main said: “Volunteers and I worked long hours for seven days a week hand-delivering leaflets and meeting people on the doorsteps.

“This was a decision that I thought was best suited to our local campaign.

“I felt that paying for large volumes of leaflets to be delivered in the post was the less personal and far more expensive option.”

Despite her victory, Mrs Main was not even the second biggest spender in the election.

Labour’s Kerry Pollard spent £9,254 to win third place in the election.

This included £8,297 on flyers and leaflets through letterboxes, and £1,100 on a fake tabloid newspaper.

Mr Pollard said: “I was telling people what I was about.

“I was the MP previously, I have been a local magistrate, so I wanted to remind people what I had done, and what I was proposing for the future.

“Such as the second referendum, which I was arguing was what Labour should hold.”

Asked if he had spent the money wisely, he said: “I would have thought I had spent the money wisely if I had won.

“But we didn’t overspend, and we got some contributions and the party stumped up as well.”

He spent the most per vote - £1.41 for 13,137 votes.

The thriftiest candidate was the Green Party’s Jack Easton, who only spent £779 overall.

He spent the second-most per vote - £1.06 for every one of his 808 votes.

Mr Easton said: “The local party is solely responsible for funding its campaign as well as for conducting it, and as a local membership organisation we do not have access to any material fighting fund. We had just completed a council campaign so money was tight even by our standards when Mrs May finally changed her mind on the need for a snap general election.

“Green Party policy is that democracy would be better served by a managed and fair system of government funding for political parties.

“This isn’t just a matter of special pleading. What we have at the moment is a system where paid electoral effort is proportional to the munificence of the candidates, their parties and their donors.”

He was helped by £760 in donations, mostly from the St Albans Greens.

Only £69 was spent by the Greens on advertising.