Political Parties: Expenditure Limits

Boris Johnson’s Government is planning major changes to general election spending rules. The expenditure limits that are planned are only likely to favour the Conservatives!

A little noticed announcement regarding the expenditure limits was released before Christmas. This stated that they would revise national party spending limits to take account of inflation since 2000. Increasing them in line with inflation would mean a 69% increase!

The intention of the legislation in 2000 was to create a more level playing field nationally. But figures published by the Electoral Commission show that it is generally only the Conservatives who can spend near the approximately £20m limit for parties contesting (almost) every seat in Great Britain.

Any increase in national spending limit would therefore favour the Conservatives and increasing it by 69% would mean that they would probably be able to spend DOUBLE the level of their nearest opponents.

At the same time they are considering new legislation that could make it much easier to target all this spending at marginal seats or in other words “buy” seats in Parliament.

I challenged the Government on this today. The Minister sought to avoid the question, so I have tabled a series of written questions as well.


If the Government was so confident of its policies, why might it want to change the rules to allow it to spend twice as much money in a general election as anyone else?

Allowing the Government to use its Commons majority to do this is the political equivalent of allowing the winner of football’s Premier League to decide that it can field 15 players every match, and every other team no more than ten! Expenditure Limits

Is this fair or democratic?

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