GE2017 Candidate Spending

Because of one thing and another this post has taken a few months to finally see the light of day but finally you can find out how much every candidate in Scotland spent on campaigning at the General Election in 2017.

These figures are for candidate spending which is spending where a candidate authorises campaigning to promote them at an election. For example, leaflets, billboard advertising, websites and campaign staff costs.

The figures do not include party campaign spending which is spending authorised by a party to promote the party and its policies generally. For example, national newspaper adverts for the party, or leaflets explaining party policy. It also includes spending on promoting candidates at elections where the party nominates a list of candidates for a region, rather than individual candidates for local areas. Unfortunately there is not a feasible way to break this down by Constituency given information available.

Also make sure you check down to the bottom of the article to see why I reported the Liberal Democrats to the Electoral Commission over their candidate spending returns. Read more

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What Next For May’s Brexit Deal?

This afternoon the Prime Minister made a statement to the House of Commons in which she said “we intend to return to the Meaningful Vote debate in the week commencing 7th January and hold the vote the following week”. As is usual procedure the Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom, will set out the exact dates and the time allowed for the debate on Thursday morning.

As you will know the vote was originally scheduled for last Tuesday but was postponed by the Prime Minister at the last moment as she knew she was facing a massive defeat for her Brexit deal.

As things stand today I predict that if the vote were to be held tomorrow the PM would lose by 419 votes to 220.

Now if you are reading carefully you will notice I bolded the words “intend to” from the PM’s quote. One has to wonder why that particular wording was used instead of “will”? While I was live Tweeting during her statement I was of the mind that given what has gone before that the vote would have to take place no matter what but having researched further I’m of the opinion that this may not be the case (more on that later). Read more

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Victory For The Scottish Government In The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court this morning delivered its judgement on a claim by the UK Attorney General that the Scottish Parliament acted outwith its “legislative competence” when it passed The European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill back in March this year.

The case was heard before Justices Lady Hale (President), Lord Reed (Deputy President), Lord Kerr, Lord Sumption, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hodge and Lord Lloyd-Jones in July and it has taken 5 months for a judgement to be arrived at.

For the main part the court found in favour of the Scottish Government: Read more

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SNP & Plaid Cymru Get Serious About Brexit

As we enter day 4 of the European Withdrawal debate, we have a new amendment tabled by the SNP and Plaid Cymru against the motion.

IndyScotNews relies on your help to keep going. If you appreciate the work we do for the independence movement then please help us by making a donation on our GoFundMe page. All donations are received with heartfelt thanks and gratitude.

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The Act of Union Bill 2018

UPDATE March 28th 2019: As of today this Bill still does not have a date set for its second reading in the House of Lords and is very much a non-goer.

Tomorrow (Tuesday October 9th, 2018) will see the First Reading of a Private Peers Bill in the House of Lords entitled Act of Union Bill. In this article I will attempt to explain the contents of the Bill to you and what it could mean for Scotland. Read more

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Exclusive: The Mystery of Mass Mailings in East Dunbartonshire

UPDATE: Wednesday 29th August 2018 – 1:45pm

I now believe that this is the mailing involved and as you can see it is definitely local in nature:

Start of original article

Following a tweet from John Nicolson, the former MP for East Dunbartonshire, regarding income and spending of the Liberal Democrats in that constituency I decided to delve into the Party’s spending at last year’s General Election.

Following an election each candidate has to submit a return to the Electoral Commission detailing the amount they have spent on the campaign. There is a limit on candidate spending for each constituency and in East Dunbartonshire this is £14,619.03.

Jo Swinson, who won the seat for the Liberal Democrats, declared a total spend £14,409.44 (just under the maximum allowed). This spending included £9,842.70 on “Unsolicited Material” which is mainly the Campaign material you all receive through your doors.

As well as candidate spending a return also has to be submitted for party spending and in the case of mailings the Electoral Commission has this advice as to whether something should be classified as candidate or party spending:

“A leaflet and a local newspaper advertisement promoting a party’s policies on health are distributed in a number of constituencies. The leaflet and the local newspaper advertisement include no reference to any candidates or local issues. The full cost of the leaflet and the local newspaper advertisement should be treated as party spending.”

“If however the main purpose of the leaflet and the local newspaper advertisement is to promote the candidates in the relevant constituencies, the material should be treated as candidate spending. The same general principle applies to online campaigning.”  (Source:

I spent several hours this evening trawling through the Electoral Commission’s spending database and discovered something very interesting indeed, namely 2 invoices totalling £12,295.80 for items described as “Jo Swinson Mailing – Personalised letters x2 kinds plus inserting and outer envelopes”, “Jo Swinson Mailing – 6pp 1/3 A4 leaflet” and “Jo Swinson Mailing – Postage”. You can view the invoices at these links:

Now, the interesting point is that these were classified as 100% party spending as can be seen here:

Remember that for a mailing to come under party spending it must not mention the candidate or local issues at all. Given the description of the mailing (what sounds like a personalised letter to voters in an envelope) this certainly does not seem the case to me.

Given the high cost of this mailing (just £2k under the total candidate spending limit) I have had no option but to refer the details of my findings to the Electoral Commission as a possible breach of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 

I will be reaching out to East Dunbartonshire Liberal Democrats for comment and will update this article if received and also when I hear if the Electoral Commission plan to take any action or not.

If you’d like to buy me a coffee or a beer, help with the site running costs or help fund future work like this please visit the Donate page to see the ways you can donate. I’m a full-time student so every little helps 🙂

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A Scottish Broadcasting Opportunity Missed?

At the SNP Conference earlier this month I’d heard of plans by an organisation called Scottish Broadcasting Company to launch a bid to buy out STV2 which had previously announced it would close with the loss of up to 59 jobs.

The following week I came across a crowdfunder which aimed to raise £1 Million by August 9th to enable the purchase of STV2 to go ahead. This crowdfunder page stated the following:  Read more

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