Yes, being a candidate in a general election carries a high financial cost.
Every candidate would be better off focusing on a "proper job". But please
remember the experience as a candidate is one that can not be measured in money
She's right in the obvious sense that being a candidate is a huge privilege and very rewarding (and I'm talking from a personal view rather than financially). However, we are now in danger of reaching a point where we're pricing people out of standing. We have got to find a way of avoiding a situation where being a candidate is either the preserve of the rich or political obsessives.
The trouble is that whenever any has-been or wannabe candidate starts talking about this issue it invites the response: "no one made you do it", which of course is true. But until you do it you have no idea of what it will cost you. I'm certainly not inviting anyone to pull an onion out of their pocket in sympathy, but if we don't talk about this issue openly it will continue to be ignored by those at the top of the political parties - and it's the same in all parties.
The Conservative Women2Win organisation is setting up bursaries for those candidates who happen to have the letters F and E in front of the word MALE. The LibDems have a Diversity Fund to help women and ethnic candidates. What all parties should have is a bursary scheme to help those candidates whose circumstances are perhaps not as financially rewarding as others. No system will ever be perfect, but if we are serious about attracting candidates from all walks of life and regions of the country, it's something we Conservatives would do well to consider.