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Lib Dems draw blank in election deposit appeal

By Pete Madeley | General Election 2017 | Published:

A crowdfunding appeal to recoup £1,500 in lost deposits of three Lib Dem General Election candidates has ended without a single penny being raised.

Isabelle Parasram spent £935 of her own money

The party ran its campaign in Walsall on a shoestring budget, with all three candidates receiving just £44.86 from Lib Dem head office and relying on personal spending and donations to bolster their coffers.

It comes in marked contrast to the electoral spends of Labour and Conservative candidates in the borough, with Eddie Hughes, who won Walsall North for the Tories, raising more than £30,000.

In the same constituency Lib Dem Isabelle Parasram, a former barrister, received 586 votes (1.5 per cent) for her £1,023.80 outlay - £935.15 of which came out of her own pocket.

The party's Walsall South candidate Anna Purvis spent £28.30 of her own money and finished last with 1.3 per cent of the vote, while Aldridge-Brownhills candidate Ian Garrett spent £823.80 for 1,343 votes (3.3 per cent).

A crowdfunding campaign was launched entitled 'Please help Walsall Lib Dems recoup lost deposits!', but ended last week with the total raised stuck on zero.

The appeal from Walsall Lib Dems said candidates had lost all three deposits of £500 each after failing to gain more than five per cent of the vote share.

It added: "Unfortunately, with the current Government hanging in the balance and the ever looming threat of yet another GE, the £1500 loss we occured [sic], could significantly impact on our ability to fight the upcoming local elections to our full potential.

"Are you able to help us carry on our fight? Any donations would be gratefully received, no matter how small!"

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The project ended with the message: "Unfortunately, this project was not successful."

Tory Eddie Hughes raised more than £30,000

Under Electoral Commission rules candidates were able to spend a maximum of around £12,600 during the month leading up to the June 8 poll.

In Walsall North Mr Hughes spent £10,193.88, having amassed donations of £32,593.88.

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The figure includes donations from influential Tory backers the United & Cecil Club (£1,500) and multi-millionaire Jeremy Hosking. Mr Hughes spent £952 on 25,000 campaign newspapers, while £3,282.10 went on digital marketing and £650 on Theresa May endorsement leaflets.

David Winnick spent £10,640.79, all of which was donated by the constituency Labour party.

In Aldridge-Brownhills Conservative Wendy Morton, who won with a majority of 14,307, spent £8,926.48.

Labour's John Fisher spent £1,747, while The Monster Raving Loony Party's Mark Beech - aka The Good Knight Sir Nosdar - got 565 votes despite spending nothing.

In Walsall South, Valerie Vaz spent £11,710.19 in holding the seat for Labour, including £1,226.22 on staff and £1,291.50 on hotel accommodation for campaign volunteers.

She was outspent by Conservative James Bird, whose £12,523.82 outlay was made up of donations including £7,695.13 from Walsall Conservatives and £4,828.69 from CCHQ.

UKIP's Derek Bennett spent £925.97.

Any surplus funds raised are usually held by constituency parties or by candidates for future campaigns.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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