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Revealed: £127,000 spent by parties to buy YOUR vote
MORE than £127,000 is spent on trying to ‘buy’ the votes of Worcestershire people by political parties, it has emerged.
New figures show huge disparities in the amounts of cash being poured into parliamentary constituencies - with some voters deemed almost five times more important than others.
For people living in Peter Luff’s Mid-Worcestershire area each vote was worth just 29p at the last general election - with a national campaign group calling it “worthless”.
Parties poured £42,000 into hotly-contested Worcester, where each vote was worth 87p, and a whopping £70,000 into West Worcestershire - £1.31 per vote.
A national league table reveals how West Worcestershire, which belongs to Tory MP Harriett Baldwin, was one of the UK’s biggest areas of political party spend.
The seat was ferociously contested because 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.
The spending revelations are likely to reopen the row over the way the main parties target a tiny number of seats which decide the outcome of general elections.
Chris Cheeseman, deputy chairman of West Worcestershire Conservative Association, said: “There was a perceived threat from the Lib Dems and the previous MPs 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.”
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.”
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 differently.
The society says the figures show how "all votes are not created equal" and that democracy suffers for it.
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 certain.
TOTAL PARTY SPEND VOTES CAST PER VOTE
Worcester £42,627.51 48,974 87p
West Worcestershire £70,697.85 54,093 £1.31
Mid-Worcestershire £14,602.32 50,931 29p
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