Revealed: How Conservative MP Stephen Barclay spent more than double his opponents to retain North East Cambridgeshire seat
- Credit: IAN BURT
Victorious Stephen Barclay spent more than double his five opponents put together to win this year’s race to become North East Cambridgeshire’s MP.
Candidates’ electoral expenses, which have to be declared and made public by law, show the Conservative spent £15,722.12 during the ‘short campaign’ between May and the June 8 election.
His nearest challenger, Labour’s Ken Rustidge, spent £3,482.19 while the third place candidate Darren Fower, for the Liberal Democrats, spent £2,462.37.
UKIP’s Robin Talbot and the English Democrats’ Stephen Goldspink filed nil returns, meaning they spent nothing in the campaign. The Green Party’s Ruth Johnson spent £610.72, mostly on election literature.
In total, the unsuccessful candidates spent £6,555.28, less than half what Mr Barclay - who increased his majority by 4,396, getting 21,270 votes more than the second place candidate - spent in total.
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Mr Barclay, whose main spending was on leaflets and election materials delivered to voters, was not far off reaching the legal spending limit for North East Cambridgeshire, which was £16,229.67.
Chris Boden, Mr Barclay’s election agent, said he was surprised to see some candidates file nil returns but said: “Parties will tend to spend up to the limit to get their message across.
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“We had a lot of messages to get across and we spent what we thought we needed to, to get our message across.”
The Conservatives spent £2,398.43 on advertising during the campaign, with £1,000 of that going on Facebook advertising.
Unsolicited materials to voters set the party back £12,518.70, which comprised of two leaflets, an election address and calling cards, as well as the costs of paper and printing. That amount also included £4,134.31 on postage.
Mr Fower spent £2,316.38 on unsolicited materials to voters, while Mr Rustidge spent £3,441.39 on election materials, including 4,000 A5 leaflets, 16,000 newsletters and a mailshot to 56,000 voters.
Mr Rustidge also sent two sets of letters, one targeted to 1,820 voters and another sent to 612 people.
Each candidate’s expenses were covered by donations from their constituency parties.
Mr Boden added: “Political parties will typically spend much closer to the limit than their challengers. More than anything that’s to do with resource.
“The important thing is that people were given the opportunity to go out and vote for those parties.”
Mr Barclay was appointed as economic secretary to HM Treasury after the election.