PEOPLE who voted for Nick Hurd to be their MP cost the Conservative Party 18p each in the last general election campaign.
The figure emerges from a report released by the Electoral Reform Society, entitled Penny For Your Vote, following an analysis of spending patterns on electioneering in UK constituencies during the 2010 election.
Mr Hurd’s Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner seat came second bottom in the country for total cash spent per vote by all parties, just above Bootle on Merseyside, which scraped 14p per cross on ballot papers.
In 2010, he polled 28,866 votes, in return for an outlay by his party of £5,190 in his constituency.
Mr Hurd told the Gazette: “Personally I would like to see less money spent on elections because I think the material probably annoys more people than it inspires.
“People understand why spending is higher in the most marginal seats.
“Conservatives are not complacent here in any way.
“It’s just that in our experience, people are more impressed by what you do over the years rather than how many leaflets you shove through the letterbox in the weeks before an election.”
Mr Hurd could be at risk of seeing a dent in his 19,000 majority if voters take against his neutral stance on HS2 which could require extra spending in his election budget.
However, according to the report, it is rock-solid margins that lead political parties nationally to direct scarce cash elsewhere.
Labour, knowing it did not have a chance of gaining Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner in 2010, spent even less per voter – 15p – and none of that in the six weeks leading up to election day.
“Targeting does not necessarily imply that parties do not care about voters in safe seats, but more that they cannot spare the resources to spend on them,” according to the report, for which data has been taken from the Electoral Commission and the findings of Harvard academic Pippa Norris.
Katie Ghose, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: “Elections in Britain have become the ultimate postcode lottery.
“The amount of money which parties spend on attracting your vote depends almost entirely on where you live.
“The fact that voters in Bootle are valued 22 times less than those in Luton South (£3.07) shows that all votes are not created equal after all.”
? You can read the full report online, at www.electoral-reform.org.uk.