GE2017: Tories Spent Most In Scotland Including £300k to Lynton Crosby
New figures show the Scottish Conservatives spent the most in Scotland during the 2017 General Election, with more than £300k going to veteran Australian campaign strategist, Lyton Crosby.
The Electoral Commission report shows that the Scottish Tories outspending all their opponents during the 2017 General Election, putting £1,732,358 into their Scottish campaign, which translates to around £2.29 for each vote cast. The second largest spenders were the Scottish National Party, who’s £1,623,126.63 spend cost the party £1.60 per vote in 2017.
Labour spent £1,025,701 in Scotland, working out at around £1.43 per vote, costing the least out of any of the main four Scottish political parties.
The Liberal Democrats spent £703,058 pounds, costing them around a whopping £3.63 per vote in Scotland, the most out of any of those who won seats. This figure comes on the heels of an Election Commission probe into Lib Dem spending, with suspicions raised around their 2016 Holyrood campaign. The expense is also more than double the Liberal Democrat’s spending in Scotland during the 2015 General Election.
The majority of the money spent was on unsolicited mail-outs, which are leaflets mass mailed out to voters homes. However the Conservatives also gave over £307,334 to Lynton Crosby’s firm for services rendered in Scotland, consisting mostly of opinion polling and ‘strategic advice’.
Barack Obama’s polling expert, Jim Messina, who worked on both his 2008 and 2012 US Presidential campaigns was also given £50,799.15 for services in Scotland. Jim Messina had also previously worked for David Cameron during the 2015 British General Election.
The spending figures in Scotland are broadly in line with national trends in spending during the 2017 Election, showing the Tories spent around around £7 million more than Labour during the campaign, more than the total Labour and Lib Dem campaign spending combined.
The Conservatives have previously been cautioned by the Electoral Commission against overspending during Electoral campaigns, with Tory South Thanet MP, Craig McKinley, due to appear in court on the 14th of May this year, on charges of breaching Electoral spending limits.
The figures also reveal the Tories online woes, with the Conservatives spending almost four times as much as the Labour party on Facebook ads (£2.1m compared with £577,000), despite having about half as many ‘likes’ on Facebook as Jeremy Corbyn.
Overall, in the UK the total reported spend on the 2017 General Election was £41,587,450, a £2.5 million increase from the 2015 contest. The true figure may also be much higher, given the numbers do not include local campaign spending on individual constituency candidates.