Carmichael highlights report on Tory election spending in call for greater transparency

11 Jan 2024

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today called for greater transparency in election spending, after a Daily Mirror report found that more advert spend was being used for Rishi Sunak’s Facebook page than Donald Trump’s. The report follows a move last year by the Conservatives to almost double national spending limits in UK elections, with a similar increase in reporting thresholds for political donations, raising concerns about election fairness and transparency. 

Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael said:

“The Daily Mirror reported at the weekend that the Conservative Party is already spending more on the Prime Minister’s Facebook page on adverts than Donald Trump is spending on his, so it is pretty clear already the motivation for doubling the party spending limits.

“If this isn’t something that can be stopped, can the Commission at least do more to increase transparency so that people can see this shoddy attempt to buy democracy for what it is?”

Responding for the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission, Cat Smith MP said:

“The Commission has said that any changes to spending and reporting thresholds should be supported by rigorous analysis which would of course be for the government to publish including the likely impact on public confidence and transparency. The Commission continues to make the case for changes to the political finance system to further improve public trust and confidence.”

Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:

“Everything indicates that the Tories will design the system and play it to their advantage in the next election, as evidenced by their unjustified doubling of national spending limits at the end of last year.

“The Tories have been a poor understudy of Donald Trump for some time – it appears that they take a similar view to him on fair elections. People deserve confidence that there is a level playing field for all parties and that the game is not tilted towards those with the deepest pockets.”

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