Belfast Telegraph

Tories/UUP topped election spending

The failed Ulster Unionist and Conservative Party pact threw more money at the general election than any of its opponents, it has been confirmed.

The parties stood on a joint ticket under the leadership of David Cameron and Reg Empey, but despite spending a combined £126,633 on the campaign, they failed to win a seat.

The two groups have since agreed an amicable separation, but figures from the Electoral Commission have confirmed they outstripped their competitors on spending.

Sinn Fein spent £64,078 on the general election, the DUP spent £59,086, while the SDLP were also big spenders, ringing-up £52,339.

The Ulster Unionist Party spent £16,692 during the campaign, while the figures show the Conservative Party outlay amounted to £109,941. The Alliance Party invested £23,944 in their battle plan, which they are likely to view as money well spent after Naomi Long seized East Belfast from the DUP leader Peter Robinson.

The Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) was among those that ended the contest empty-handed after its leader Jim Allister was defeated in North Antrim when Ian Paisley Jnr successfully defended the seat previously held by his father.

The TUV nevertheless spent £11,368 on its general election campaign across Northern Ireland. The Green Party put a relatively modest £6,304 into its campaign, though it did not take a seat. The People Before Profit Alliance registered the lowest outgoings, spending £198.

Total spending by parties was £343,952, compared with £596,326 in the 2005 election.

At the end of the May 2010 poll, the DUP took eight Westminster seats, Sinn Fein held five, the SDLP ended with three seats, with the Alliance holding one and the independent candidate, and former Ulster Unionist, Lady Sylvia Hermon also holding a seat.

Chief executive of the Electoral Commission Peter Wardle said: "We first published details of campaign spending following the 2001 UK general election. Voters have become used to election spending being transparent, with details of the amounts spent by each party available on our website."

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