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Nigel Farage’s Reform UK spent more cash per vote at the Senedd elections than any of Wales’ other 10 largest parties

05 Feb 2022 4 minute read
Nigel Farage picture by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Nigel Farage’s Reform UK spent more cash per vote at the Senedd elections than any of Wales’ other 10 largest parties, an analysis of Electoral Commission data by Nation.Cymru has found.

Reform UK, the rebranded Brexit party which contested all 40 constituencies, spent £101,481 on campaigning ahead of last May’s election and won 29,135 votes in total.

It means they spent £3.48 on campaigning for every vote they received – 70p more per vote than the amount spent by any other party which spent more than £10,000 on campaigning.

In one constituency, Torfaen, Reform UK outspent the Conservatives but finished sixth out of eight with just 730 votes, some 5,521 fewer than the second placed Conservative candidate.

The Liberal Democrats, who slumped to their worst ever Senedd election result despite benefiting from their biggest donation on record from the co-founder of Admiral insurance, spent the second most per vote (£2.78), followed by UKIP (£2.18) and Freedom Alliance (£1.98).

Abolish the Welsh Assembly spent the lowest amount per vote at 62p, partly because a third of their constituency candidates were purely paper candidates and didn’t spend any money.

It also reflects the fact that “Abolish is a single issue proposition on the ballot paper, able to secure the support of some voters without needing a significant election campaign,” according to Dr Jac Larner, a researcher on the Welsh Election Study team at Cardiff University’s Wales Governance centre.

Although that meant Abolish the Welsh Assembly spent less money relative to other devosceptic parties, Dr Larner stressed that the party was “routed” last May, with the “majority of voters who say they want to scrap devolution voted for the Conservatives”.

Overall, Devosceptic parties saw their vote collapse by a third at this year’s Senedd election despite more than doubling the amount of money spent on campaigning.

The calculations are based on data published this week by the Electoral Commission on party and candidate spending.

Challenge 

Of Wales’ major parties, the Conservatives spent the most per vote at £1.38, ahead of Plaid (£1.21) and Labour (99p).

When it comes to spending by parties, which includes money spent on regional list candidates, the Conservatives significantly outspent Labour by almost £50,000 and Plaid Cymru by almost £250,000.

But when candidate spending is taken into account, our analysis found Labour spent £839,430 compared to £788,703 by the Conservatives and £552,609 by Plaid Cymru.

That reflects the fact that 26 of Labour’s 29 seats are constituencies rather than regional list seats, while half of the Conservative’s 16 members were elected via the regional lists.

The most expensive candidate at the election was Labour’s Jane Bryant, whose £14.380 in spending helped her survive a strong challenge from the Conservatives in Newport West.

The Vale of Glamorgan was the constituency with the highest spending candidate in the last UK general election, with Conservative Alun Cairns spending £15,179 to save his seat in the wake of his resignation as Wales Secretary.

And that constituency was again hotly contested in the Senedd elections. Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt held the seat with the second highest spend (£14,197) of any candidate and her Conservative challenger, Matthew Smith, spent the third highest amount (£14.086) and more than any other Conservative.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price was the fourth-highest spender (£13,553), while Samuel Kurtz, who was elected the MS for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, was fifth (£13,207).

Nation.Cymru revealed in November how Kurtz received a £3,000 donation from his family’s holiday cottage business.

The candidate who received the most in donations wasn’t elected. Rodney Berman, the Liberal Democrat candidate in Cardiff Central and on the South Wales Central regional list, registered £21,094 in donations but came a distant second in his constituency contest.

Donations include things like free use of a party office as well as cash donations.

Party Party spending Combined candidate spending Votes Spending per vote
Abolish £24,495 £12,627 59,548 £0.62
Labour £500,566 £338,864 844,817 £0.99
Green £58,554 £8.973 66,531 £1.01
Gwlad £5,298 £4,521 9,605 £1.02
Plaid Cymru £302,201 £250,408 455,537 £1.21
Conservative £549,132 £239,571 568,362 £1.38
Propel £20,382 £16,061 18,689 £1.94
Freedom Alliance £8,426 £5,045 6,786 £1.98
UKIP £54,276 £2,501 25,927 £2.18
Liberal Democrat £184,434 £103,618 102,419 £2.78
Reform UK £79,631 £21,850 29,135 £3.48

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Erisian
Erisian
7 months ago

But whose money were they spending?
Where did it come from?
What were their doners expecting to gain?

Dafydd Pritchard
Dafydd Pritchard
7 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

We’re they kebabs!?

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
7 months ago

Now that’s one typo for the blooper reel. 😂

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
7 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

Onions, chilli sauce and a large pitta bread.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
7 months ago

Spent all that money and didn’t win a single seat. Hilarious! 😂

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
7 months ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

Let’s now hope all anti-Welsh, racist parties and campaigns are consigned to the trashcan of history – where they belong.

Last edited 7 months ago by Mr Williams
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
7 months ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

And racist comedians too Mr Williams…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
7 months ago

It reminds me of the old days of rotten boroughs, for the price of a pint you buy a vote…

Argol Fawr!
Argol Fawr!
7 months ago

I bet most of it was filtered off before getting anywhere near any voting constituents.

Richard
Richard
7 months ago

Just who is bank rolling these fringe groups who it turned out spoke for so few voters ?

Sian Caiach
7 months ago

You can find out who all the party donors are by looking the party up on the Electoral commission website.All large donations are registered there. I suspect the strong correlation between independence and rejoining the EU simply follows Plaid’s policy. Personally I believe that the EU as a body is very against the Nation States breaking up and is happy to stand by and watch the EU members using blatant repression of minorities such as in the treatment of Catalonian Nationalism. However they were happy to intervene on the unionist side of the Scottish Referendum. The EU line there was… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago
Reply to  Sian Caiach

Sadly too many of our fellow pro independence supporters are blindly pro EU. They spout the “pro EU, anti UK” lines when they should be taking a view of the opportunistic behaviours of the EU towards minorities and moving towards an “anti UK, anti EU” stance.

There again too many of our political class in Wales and UK wide strongly favour that nasty centralist model that you see in Brussels and now see being reshaped by the gangsters in London.

Quornby
Quornby
7 months ago

Just look at the gob on him!

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
7 months ago
Reply to  Quornby

A fairground coconut-shy head…

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
7 months ago

Money wasted by a party of wasters. Reform UK, or as I like to call them, Regurgitate UK, are void of ideas, English extremists, who were led by their political pied piper Nigel “goose-stepping ” Farage through the gutters into the sewers whence they came.

Last edited 7 months ago by Y Cymro

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