Prospective MPs spent £25m fighting election

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Indy Politics

Candidates spent more than £25 million trying to get elected to Parliament in the four months before this year's General Election.

That was on top of the £31.5 million spent campaigning by the political parties in the year leading up to the May 6 poll.

For the first time, candidates were this year required to report spending between January 1 and the dissolution of parliament, when the election campaign officially starts.

Total spending between January 1 and polling day was £25.2 million.

Spending during the campaign proper, from dissolution on April 12 to May 6, was £14 million, down slightly from £14.7 million in 2005.

The Electoral Commission published the spending details of 4,028 out of 4,150 candidates who stood in the 2010 election.

The law requires all candidates to report local campaign spending to their returning officer within 35 days of the result being declared.

Individual spending in the "long campaign", which starts in January, is limited to £25,000 plus 5p per elector in a borough constituency or 7p per elector in a county.

During the "short campaign", from dissolution to polling day, spending is limited to £7,150 plus the same elector limits.

The figures include spending on advertising, public meetings, staff, transport and accommodation.

Candidate spending in the 2001 general election was £11.9 million and it reached £12.9 million in 1997.