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Revealed: what parties spent to win your vote
VOTES in Malvern were among the most expensive for political parties at the last general election, according to new research.
More than £127,000 was spent trying to ‘buy’ the votes of Worcestershire people by political parties at the last general election, according to figures released by the Electoral Reform Society, with the West Worcestershire constituency, which includes Malvern, topping the county chart with £1.31 spent for each vote.
The national league table reveals how the seat, which was won by Tory MP Harriett Baldwin, was one of the UK’s biggest areas of political party spend.
The seat was ferociously contested after the Liberal Democrats targeted it for victory, partly due to previous Tory MP Sir Michael Spicer, who retired in 2010 and was sitting on a declining majority.
Mrs Baldwin eventually held it for the party with a 6,854 majority.
Chris Cheeseman, deputy chairman of West Worcestershire Conservative Association, said: “There was a perceived threat from the Lib Dems and the previous MP’s majority was dwindling.
“Sir Michael Spicer held it for 30 years, and was there when the boundaries changed, so instead of it being based around Evesham, Malvern became the focus. We knew we had to put more effort in.”
For people living in Peter Luff’s Mid-Worcestershire area, each vote was worth just 29p at the 2010 vote – with a national campaign group calling it “worthless”.
Meanwhile, parties poured £42,000 into hotly-contested Worcester, where each vote was worth 87p.
Mr Luff’s seat is among the safest Conservative strongholds in the country, with a 15,864 majority, meaning parties spent just £14,000 on it. He said: “I was an incumbent MP and I’d worked hard over the previous years – blood sweat and tears.
“Any sitting MP in a solid seat who has to spend large amounts of money trying to keep it is a very bad MP.
“You don’t win it at election time, you do it in the previous five years.”
In Worcester, Tory MP Robin Walker grabbed the seat from Labour’s Mike Foster with 2,982 more votes.
The £42,000 spend was a reflection of the importance both main parties put on trying to win it.
Roger Jenkins, secretary of Worcester Labour Party, said: “You wouldn’t spend it if you thought you didn’t need to – we did everything we could to try and win.”
The data has been published by the Electoral Reform Society, which has criticised parties for creating “the ultimate postcode lottery” by treating people so differently.
In Luton South, votes were worth a whopping £3.07 each, but in five seats not a single penny was spent because the outcome was deemed so predictable.
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