Monday, 2 August 2010

The Cost of Getting Elected

If you think you can get yourself elected to public office for free, then think again (unless you're aspiring to no greater office than a parish councillor!)

Getting yourself elected to your local borough council isn't cheap, and getting elected to Parliament will cost serious money. So you'll either need deep pockets yourself, have a wealthy benefactor who's happy to bankroll your political career, or (most likely) you'll have a political party that'll pick up the tab, or at least a significant amount of it.

Fortunately, all candidates who stand for public office must state how much money they spent trying to get elected (whether successfully or not). So with last May's General Election fast becoming a distant memory, here's the full list of how much each of the six candidates who wished to become Rugby's new MP spent in trying to win your vote:

Mark Pawsey (Conservative) - £18,869.29
Andy King (Labour) - £15,801.79
Jerry Roodhouse (Liberal Democrat) - £4,292.79
Barry Milford (UKIP) - £745.00
Mark Badrick (BNP) - £550.40
Roy Sandison (Green) - £249.46

Which comes to a grand total of £40,508.73 spent by the candidates. I suppose at least one of the above will argue that it was money well spent!

Not to be outdone (despite being considerably outspent), candidates seeking to be elected borough councillor for the Fosse ward on Rugby Borough Council have also published their election expenses:

Rachel Watts (Conservative) - £367.85
Robert Bevin (Labour) - £92.70
Richard Gunstone (Liberal Democrat) - £0.00

So if you fancy taking on either Mark or Rachel the next time they're up for election, at least now you know how much they're likely to spend trying to beat you!


  1. You forgot to include how much the national parties will have spent promoting the 'brand.' And trust me, that's a cheap council election. I spent more. A lot more.

  2. Despite this money being spent on getting Rachel elected she doesn't seem to be attending Parish Councils in her area or even main Council meetings. Perhaps that's below her?

  3. In response to the second anonymous comment I would like to add that I am attending every Parish Council meeting I possibly can and also at Rugby Borough Council - I can assure you that no meeting is deemed 'below me'.

    I am extremely sorry someone feels this way.

    Please do feel free to email me at if you would like to discuss anything further.

  4. Thanks for replying Rachel. Although you claim you are attending as many meetings as possible this isn't very mnay.

    Did you attend the Customer and Partnership Committee on the 2nd September? Did you attend the last meeting of Full Council on 10th August? Did you attend the last Shilton, Monks Kirby or Brinklow Parish Council meetings?

    The answer is no. Your attendance record is the worst of all current Councillors and we, the people of the villages in Fosse, are suffering because of it. Bring back Neil Campbell; he was an excellent Councillor and we miss his wisdom.

  5. It's not my wish here to defend Rachel from public criticism, as it's up to everyone to have their own opinions of her merits or otherwise as a borough councillor. But I think it's unfair to compare her to an experienced councillor like Neil Campbell so comparatively soon after she's been elected.

    I've worked with 100s of councillors in a professional capacity over the years and would say that it often takes a good 12 months before you can judge the calibre of a newly elected councillor.

    There is a massive learning curve to master when you become a borough councillor, in understanding processes and procedures, the borough-wide and local issues that matter to people, as well as the organisations, individuals and personalities that everybody else knows, but you don't.

    All of this takes time, and throw in the fact that some of us still have to earn a living, and have family responsibilities on top of that, and being a new councillor soon becomes a huge chunk of your life that takes some adjusting too.

    Truthfully, I would think that the vast majority of people would be rubbish as a councillor, so I'd never knock anyone who actually puts themselves forward. Just give Rachel another six months before you completely write her off.

    Although I do agree with you that anybody replacing Neil Campbell will have a hard act to follow. And I'm sure Rachel has gathered that by now too!

  6. My point is not about whether Rachel is competent. The only way we can gauge that is by her performance when she attends meetings. This is the problem, she isn't attending any!

    She will only learn the ropes and get to know who is who and what is what by going to the meetings that she is supposed to. If she can't juggle work, family and Council commitments she shouldn't have stood.

    Given she takes a £6,000 p.a. allowance I don't think there are any excuses.

    Out of interest, as a Parish Councillor in Shilton you will know what her attendance percentage at your meetings is. Care to share?

  7. From memory, she came to our Annual Parish Meeting just after she was elected, and then came along to the August meeting to report on a number of issues that were of interest to Shilton and Barnacle. So two out of five.

  8. That level of attendance is unacceptable.

    Full Council minutes, where the main decisions the Borough Council makes are decided, show her attendance is 50%. That means that we are not represented at half of all Full Council meetings.

    For the record I am not comparing Rachel to Neil Campbell. All I am saying is that I wish he was still our Borough Councillor.