From Facebook ads to battle buses - what the parties paid for at the Peterborough by-election

The amount spent by the major parties at the June by-election in Peterborough can be revealed.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 21st September 2019, 7:15 am
Lisa Forbes giving her victory speech at the count
Lisa Forbes giving her victory speech at the count

The Peterborough Telegraph has looked through the expenses which all candidates have to submit to the returning officer at the election - in this case Gillian Beasley, chief executive of Peterborough City Council.

Labour’s Lisa Forbes won the hotly contested by-election by 683 votes from Mike Greene of the Brexit Party.

Conservative Paul Bristow came third, followed by Liberal Democrat Beki Sellick.

Lisa Forbes giving her victory speech at the count

All other 15 candidates at the by-election did not receive enough votes (five per cent) to get their £500 deposit returned.

Candidates were allowed to spend up to £100,000 during the campaign.

The by-election was called after previous MP Fiona Onasanya was recalled by her constituents after being jailed for perverting the course of justice for lying about speeding points.

Below are some of the interesting items from the candidates’ expenses returns:

Lisa Forbes (Labour)

Amount spent - £82,708.32

. Facebook ads - £7,357.72

. Newspaper and digital ads - £9,823

. Unsolicited material - £12,685.04

. MPs travel - £1,028.85

. Volunteer travel - £1,493.92

. Mileage - £3,872

. Venue hire for Gordon Brown at Holiday Inn - £600.

Mike Greene (Brexit Party)

Amount spent - £76,656.61

. Newspaper ads - £2,620.30

. Van artwork - £2,220

. Facebook - £9,271.49

. Unsolicited material - £21,420.20

. Driver service - £3,546

. Public meetings: Great Northern Hotel - £1,090, Broadway Theatre - £4,650, Cresset - £1,793

. £800 - ad bus

. Security - £8,400.

Paul Bristow (Conservative)

Amount spent - £91,206.32

. Media and digital advertising - £7,889.27

. Unsolicited material - £44,113.45

. Transport - £0.

Asked why transport costs were £0 when Conservative Cabinet members travelled to Peterborough to campaign, a party spokesman said: “All our election expenses have been filed in accordance with Electoral Commission guidance of the law.”

Liberal Democrat candidate Beki Sellick who came fourth at the by-election spent £26,880.44.

Of this total, £1,977.52 was on advertising (mostly digital) and £17,737.40 was on unsolicited material (for example, leaflets).

Office accommodation costs included £1,336.50 to the Peterborough Environment City Trust, which is based in Cowgate.

Telephone surveys cost £616.

UKIP’s John Whitby spent £7,822, of which £6,340 was for unsolicited material. Other expenditure included £834 on newspaper ads and £120 for a public meeting at Bedford Hall in Thorney.

Renew candidate Peter Ward earned only 45 votes despite spending £17,984.

This included £4,677.23 on Facebook advertising, £1,200 on digital marketing and £5,579.76 on digital advertising.

SDP candidate Patrick O’Flynn received 135 votes despite a campaign which saw £18,599.35 spent on it.

More than half this was for unsolicited material, while £1,702.28 was on advertising.