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Parties spent £40,000 to win Wyre Forest votes
MORE than £40,000 was spent by political parties trying to earn Wyre Forest residents’ votes at the last general election, figures show.
It means each vote at the 2010 poll in the constituency was worth 79p to the parties, placing it in the middle range for party spending, according to the Electoral Reform Society.
Big money was spent in other places such as Ludlow,which includes Cleobury Mortimer, where the cost was £67,823 – £1.39 per vote.
Wyre Forest residents’ votes were, however, more valuable than those in Hartlebury, part of the mid-Worcestershire constituency held by Conservative Peter Luff, where just £14,602 – 29p per vote–was spent.
In its recent report, the society said figures showed “when it comes to party spending at election time, all votes are not created equal”, adding parties had created a “postcode lottery” and democracy was suffering because of it.
Mr Luff, whose seat is one the safest Tory ones in Britain, said he was puzzled at the study’s conclusion.
“In my case what mattered was not the money spent three weeks before the election but what I did in the previous five years,” he said.
“The Electoral Reform Society has come to completely the wrong conclusion. The idea you can spend money in the last few weeks and swing a result is an insult to the British people.
“Where there is change or an incumbent is standing down, you have to fight harder.”
Wyre Forest Labour Party leader Jamie Shaw said he was not surprised by the figures and there was also a disparity inside constituencies as well as between them.
“We have to look at the issue of capping spending at national and constituency level,” he said.
“It would be fairer if a level of expenditure was brought in that would make it a more even fight for all parties.”
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