Today is the day election spending rules kick in and the campaign for 2015 officially begins. Here are the key dates for your diary:
- December 19: Long campaign begins. Candidate spending limited to £30,700, plus 9p per voter in county (rural) constituencies, and 6p per voter in borough (urban) constituencies.
- January 5: House returns from Christmas recess.
- February 12-23: February recess.
- March 18: George Osborne delivers the final budget of the parliament. He only has a few working days to get it through before…
- March 30: Parliament dissolves. Short campaign begins. Spending restrictions tightened to £8,700, plus 9p per voter in county constituencies and 6p per voter in borough constituencies.
- May 7: Election day.
138 days to go…
The Electoral Commission today reveals how much each party spent on their European election campaigns. The big bucks splashed by the Tories and UKIP meant they paid six figures for each seat won. Labour got best value for money, spending just over a million quid for their 20 seats, or just over £50,000 per MEP.
The LibDems blew £1.5 million with just one MEP to show for it…
Fascinating analysis on ConHome showing how Labour’s poll ratings six months out from elections have historically compared with the final election result. Guido’s graph above illustrates how “Labour consistently end up winning fewer votes in the general election than the polls would have suggested six months in advance”. Lewis Baston concludes: “Governments gain more often than oppositions: if my Conservative-supporting readers want some comfort, there are no cases of a Labour opposition gaining ground over the final six months”. Something for Tory MPs to cling onto going into next year…
Lucy Powell’s first day in charge of Labour’s election campaign did not do much to quell colleagues’ fears she is not up to the job. At the prime time of 11pm last night Powell sent out her first mass email to Labour supporters, with the subject line “The deep end”. Waving?
In a section titled “How we’re going to win the election”, Powell raises concerns the Tories will “[use] their funding advantage to overwhelm voters with their message via every medium possible — TV, post, billboards, public transport”. Of course, as any vice-chairman of an election campaign would know, in this country outspending your opponent by splashing cash on TV adverts is explicitly prohibited by electoral law. So was that a mistruth or mis-hire?
English Democrats: 5.8%
Massive electorate. Limited ground operation. Warnings for UKIP here ahead of next year.
These are the proposals from the broadcasters:
- One head-to-head debate between the two leaders who could become Prime Minister – Conservative and Labour. This debate will be co-produced by Sky News and Channel 4 and chaired by Jeremy Paxman. Kay Burley will introduce the programme and present the post-debate analysis. The whole programme will be carried live on Sky and Channel 4 and their digital platforms, as well as having a major presence across social media.
- One debate between the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders. This debate will be produced by the BBC and presented by David Dimbleby. It will be broadcast on BBC One with extensive live coverage on other BBC TV and Radio networks and online.
- One debate between the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP leaders. This debate will be produced and broadcast by ITV. The ITV debate, chaired by Julie Etchingham, will air on ITV’s main channel and online
They have written to the four leaders inviting them to take part…
UPDATE: Farage says yes but might want more: “if the political landscape continues to change we would expect and ask for inclusion in a second debate”
UPDATE II: The LibDems say no: “We do not accept proposal that the Lib Dems, as party of government, should be prevented from defending our record in one of the TV debates.”
Speaking exclusively to Guido in the media scrum after his press conference, Nigel Farage has called for the Electoral Commission to be abolished for allowing the misleadingly named An Independence From Europe party onto the ballot papers. Farage accepted that the spoiler party cost UKIP an even greater win, the party is furious that Gawain Towler was denied a seat in the South West because of the vote being split by the other party’s “UK Independence Now” slogan. The UKIP leader tells Guido:
“The Electoral Commission was set up if you remember to stop things like the Literal Democrats from ever happening again. In their 13 years of existence, their only achievement that I can see is to have presided over a massive growth in postal voting fraud. They’ve hounded UKIP almost to the point of bankruptcy. We only survived 4-3 at the Supreme Court from going bankrupt. They now allow a party that put UK Independence Now on the ballot paper, that cost us a seat in the South West. Frankly they are not fit for purpose. I’d close the whole thing down and start again.”
Please credit quote to Guido Fawkes.
The Electoral Commission claimed the names of the two parties were sufficiently different. Which is laughable considering it impacted upon the final result…