Complaints about Michael Ashcroft funding marginal seats is really just a
Labour red herring (Tories surge past Labour after election dithering, October
12). As a prospective parliamentary candidate fighting to overturn a Labour
majority of just 97, I am faced with a huge inbuilt disadvantage. Not only does
the MP have £18,000 of taxpayer funds annually to "communicate" with the
electorate (not forgetting the £10,000 bonus recently added), he or she also has
£7,000 postal expenses and a fully staffed office also paid for by the taxpayer.
My MP regularly writes letters to members of the public. So, with a £28,000
annual communications allowance, a huge postage allowance and trade union funds,
Labour MPs have an automatic head start over any challenger. Support from
Ashcroft and others to Conservative parliamentary candidates merely levels the
Robert Halfon, Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate,
Rob's experience is typical of many. What he doesn't mention is the money which trade unions funnell into constituency Labour parties, which also tilt the balance. The attempt by Labour MPs to persuade Gordon Brown to legislate to prevent the Michael Ashcrofts of this world funding campaigns in certain seats and overseeing a national campaign is nothing short of scandalous. They need to look at their own actions in voting themselves £10k of YOUR money to publicise themselves. That is the true scandal.
Declaration of interest: I received £10K from Lord Ashcroft during the runup to the last general election when I was a candidate - and am proud to call him a friend.