The chart above is self-explanatory and illustrates clearly how well the electoral system treated the Tories at the last election and how hard it was on the smaller parties particularly UKIP.
General elections are won in the marginal constituencies where clearly the parties focus their resources both financial and people.
But the law lays down very strict spending limits on how much can be spent by each party within each seat. Parties shouldn’t be able to buy victory simply because they’ve got most money.
After the election each candidate and his/her agent have to sign a declaration of expenses. A false declaration is a criminal offence.
So free resources that don’t cost money such as enthusiastic volunteers for clearical tasks, delivering and canvassing are at a premium. If you start paying for items like this during the official campaign period then it can eat into the maximum that’s allowed.
Earlier in the year Channel 4’s Michael Crick ran a series of reports suggesting that the Tories in some of their key targets and defences might have gone over the limit. This is now being investigated by the Electoral Commission and we await its report.
In these days hidden campaigning such as use of social media and the phone plays a huge part and tracking expenditure can be harder but it is right that limits should be adhered to.