The Labour Party outspent the Conservatives by almost £8,000 in the Hartlepool by-election, new electoral spending return data has shown.
Sir Keir Starmer’s party shelled out a massive £95,139.05 on the election out of a limit of £100,000, despite losing it by 6,940 votes.
The Conservatives said they spent only £86,991.77.
The figures, signed off by the party’s candidate Paul Williams, included money for ‘Happy St George’s Day’ flyers that were sent out emblazoned with the English flag.
The Conservatives’ largest expenditure was on £21,950.57 in direct mail to voters, followed by £21,600 on “research.”
Happy St. George's Day to everyone in Hartlepool! I hope you have a great day and let me know if you pop on of these up in your window. pic.twitter.com/DCkkB07IGB— Dr Paul Williams (@PaulWilliamsLAB) April 23, 2021
St George’s Day leaflet
The Labour Party’s expenditure on the St George’s Day leaflet is noted as being more than the £312 the party spent on an A5 leaflet for polling week; the £567 spent on “postal vote cards”; or the £46.50 spent on early vote sign-up cards.
Other receipts for £1,060 from the same firm were for a quantity of 40,000 “pledge leaflets”.
The A5 flyers featured St George’s cross on one side and on the other wished voters “Happy St George’s Day from Dr Paul Williams and the Labour team.”
It encouraged recipients to “display this poster with pride in your window. Please enjoy St George’s Day in a Covid-secure way, helping us all defeat the virus together,” the Telegraph reported.
The flyers came months after a leak to the Guardian of an internal Labour party presentation, which said there needed to be stronger communication of “Labour’s respect and commitment for the country.”
It suggested that “the use of the flag, veterans, dressing smartly at the war memorial etc give voters a sense of authentic values alignment”.
Previous attempts by the Labour Party to discuss St George’s Cross saw the resignation of a shadow cabinet minister, Emily Thornberry, over a photograph of a house with three English flags and a white van.
Another shadow cabinet minister suggested that the party must “wrap itself in the St George’s flag” following their defeat in the 2015 general election, the Independent reported.