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.

Is it time to pay reparations?

The Black Lives Matter movement has renewed demands from activists in the US and around the world seeking compensation for the legacies of slavery and colonialism. But what would a reparative economic agenda practically entail and what models exist around the world?

Join us for this free live discussion at 5pm UK time (12pm EDT), Thursday 17 June.

Hear from:

  • Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: Author of Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership
  • Esther Stanford-Xosei: Jurisconsult, Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE).
  • Ronnie Galvin: Managing Director for Community Investment, Greater Washington Community Foundation and Senior Fellow, The Democracy Collaborative.
  • Chair, Aaron White: North American economics editor, openDemocracy
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