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Anti-Senedd parties’ vote collapsed at May’s election despite doubling spend on campaigning, figures reveal

19 Nov 2021 3 minutes Read
Abolish the Assembly leader Richard Suchorzewski at May’s BBC Senedd debate

Devosceptic parties saw their vote collapse by a third at this year’s Senedd election despite doubling the amount of money spent on campaigning, an analysis of new Electoral Commission figures by Nation.Cymru has found.

Abolish, UKIP and Reform UK spent a combined £158,402 on campaigning ahead of May’s election – up from £83,544 spent by UKIP and Abolish in 2016, which was before Nigel Farage split from UKIP to create Reform UK.

Despite that, the three parties scored a combined 114,610 votes in constituency and regional ballots this year – down from 176,424 in 2016.

Reform UK, the rebranded Brexit party, spent £79,631 on campaigning – the most of any party which failed to win a Senedd seat. It means each of the 29,135 constituency and regional votes won by the party cost a huge £2.73 each. By comparison, UKIP spent £70,749 to win 259,175 votes in 2016 – equivalent to 27p per vote.

UKIP’s spending power at this election was reduced to £54,276, although that was still only £4,000 less than the Green party’s war chest. UKIP spent £2.09 for every vote they received compared to 88p for the Greens. A third of all UKIP spending was on Facebook adverts, which meant they poured four times as much money into them as the Liberal Democrats.

Abolish doubled their spending – £24,495 compared to £12,795 in 2016. That helped them field candidates in constituencies for the first time where they won 18,149 votes. But their vote on the regional lists, which provided their best chance of winning a seat, fell back from 44,286 in 2016 to 41,399 this year. It means Abolish spent 41p per vote in 2021 compared to 28p per vote in 2016.

Devosceptic parties spent significantly more in Wales than on their campaign in Scotland. UKIP spent a full £46,000 more in Wales while Reform UK spent £25,000 more. Abolish the Scottish Parliament spent just £176 on their campaign.

‘Fatally undermined’

Splitting the devosceptic vote between three parties played some part in ensuring they have no representation in the Senedd, but Dr Jac Larner of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre said after the election that “even if all of that vote share was consolidated into one party it’s very unlikely they would have won a substantial number of seats.”

Some 38% of people who voted UKIP in 2016 switched to the Conservatives, compared to 16% who voted Abolish, 6% who voted Reform UK and just 5% who stuck with UKIP, according to research by the Wales Governance Centre.

The Centre’s Professor Richard Wyn Jones said “the whole abolish position is fatally undermined at least for the foreseeable future” following May’s elections because the parties holding that position would no longer have the level of resources they were able to deploy at May’s elections.

“They had full-time staff members in the Senedd,” he told the BBC. “There was an infrastructure. They put that forward as a proposition, and they got absolutely annihilated.”

The recently published Electoral Commission data on spending by Wales’ smaller parties also shows the financial firepower of the Liberal Democrats and the Greens was slightly reduced this year compared to 2016. The Liberal Democrats benefited from their biggest donation on record from the co-founder of Admiral insurance but still spent £11,709 less, while the Greens spent £1,349 less.

Meanwhile, the Communist party was able to spend £9,073 on this Senedd election compared to £2,206 in 2016.

The Electoral Commission is yet to publish spending figures for Labour, the Conservatives or Plaid Cymru but research by Nation.Cymru found Labour significantly outspent their rivals on Facebook adverts ahead of the election.

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Grayham Jones
8 days ago

We in wales have got to stop being little Englanders and and be proud to be welsh kick all English party’s out of wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Morris Dean
Morris Dean
7 days ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

Says Mr copy’n’paste

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
8 days ago

Sometimes a news headline can really cheer you up.😂

Last edited 8 days ago by Mr Williams
Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
8 days ago

The defeat of these BritNats was a positive turn of events that is all too rare in Welsh politics, but the “Welsh” Tory branch has picked up where they left off. It’s likely that Johnson thought that the Abolish parties would have some success in the Valleys and in the new Tory Westminster seats in the North East, as well as making a good showing among wealthy settlers in the playground regions. The fact that the Valleys and North East went, or stayed, Labour was a major blow to him. and which he has reacted to with a direct constitutional… Read more »

Dafydd
Dafydd
2 days ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

“Playground Regions” – love it.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
7 days ago

I would love to ask that a-hole Suchorzewski if he thinks Poland should relinquish it’s democracy back to the Russians. Actually, where was that POS born?

Rob
Rob
7 days ago

Mark Reckless was asked on Channel Four news if he believed that the people of Wales were capable of governing themselves, in which he refused to give an answer. Richard Suchorzewski during the BBC Wales debate complained about getting a bilingual letter from the NHS, & tried to quote from Tom Jones as though as if he represents all things Welsh. As for Lee Canning, as he’s from Northern Ireland, I would like to know what his position is on the future of Stormont. Abolish wasn’t able to give us an alternative as to how they believed Wales should be… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
7 days ago

I’m not surprised. The ugly patronising overtones of Abolish, Brexit Party & UKip towards Wales was sickening. I think voters realised the huge mistake they made by electing these far-right extremists into office when they did. But I was overjoyed when they were finally purged from our Senedd Cymru. They served no purpose but themselves. It’s a lesson learned I hope And what I found hypocritical. Was the very same who championed Brexit and Britain’s right to independence, who also bemoaned the EU calling for a return of power & sovereignty to Westminster & Britain, in the same breath argued… Read more »

Last edited 7 days ago by Y Cymro
Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
7 days ago

The Wales haters who want to Abolish Wales were abolished by the Welsh electorate 😉

Paul
Paul
7 days ago

The candidates of parties that stand for removing a parliament from the country, should be in prison not the Senedd.

Huw JONES
Huw JONES
7 days ago

What a coincidence. Each UKIP vote cost 27 pence, the same number as the average I.Q. of their voters.

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 days ago
Reply to  Huw JONES

The total wiping out of the supremacist BritNat Falange was a good outcome for Wales. However we still have to reduce the surviving dominant Unionist parties to a minority and that will be a long haul given the way our main Nationalist party is pussyfooting around with people whose primary goal is continuation of the Union’s embrace.

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