Report: the more Lib Dems spent on a seat, the more votes they lost

A new report on openDemocracyUK reveals how the Liberal Democrats squandered thousands on no-hope Clegg loyalists whilst cutting out incumbent MPs who went on to narrowly miss-out.

Adam Ramsay
Adam Ramsay
10 September 2016

Nick Clegg, by David Spender

A new report by Seth Thévoz, published by openDemocracyUK today, gives some incredible detail on one of the most dramatic stories of last year’s election.

The thorough interrogation of Liberal Democrat expenditure, by academic, researcher and party activist Dr Seth Thévoz leads to some surprising revelations, including:

- Whilst several incumbent MPs who came close to retaining their seats, including prominent rebels like Greg Mulholland, were cut off from party funding, front bench MPs and other Clegg loyalists with little chance of retaining or winning their seats, like Danny Alexander, saw vast expenditure on their seats.

- Huge amounts of money were raised by the Sheffield Lib Dems, who ensured the re-election of Clegg himself in Sheffield Hallam – sums equivalent to a “Half-dozen or more under-resourced seats which may well have been sacrificed in favour of Hallam”.

- That “on average, the more money Lib Dems raised in a seat, the more votes were lost in that seat — as voters heard the party’s 2015 message in the places that the party could afford to campaign the most, they were actively repelled from voting for the party”.

- Lib Dem internal polling amounted to little more than an exercise in comforting themselves.

Thévoz describes the Lib Dem’s 2015 campaign as a “bonfire of party donations”.

You can read the full report here.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

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