Proof of low key Tory campaign in by-election
The Conservative's spent less than £40,000 on their campaign in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election last month, less than half as much as either Labour or the Liberal Democrats.
Spending figures released by Oldham council tonight support accusations that the Conservatives ran a low key campaign in the by-election in order to help their Lib Dem coalition colleagues.
The figures submitted by each of the major parties to the local election authorities by the deadline of today (Friday) show that each of the major parties spent as follows:
Lab £97, 085
Lib Dem £94,540
These figures show that while Labour (who won) and the Liberal Democrats (who came second) both spent close to the legal spending limit for a by-election of £100,000, the Conservatives spent less than 40% of what they were legally entitled to.
Throughout the campaign the Conservatives denied accusations that they were not taking the by-election seriously.
Rivals campaigns and journalists (including myself for Newsnight) observed that the Conservative organisation in Oldham East and Saddleworth was not on the scale one would traditionally expects in a by-election in which the party had a good chance of winning.
Tonight's figures show that even UKIP spent £4000 more than the Conservatives.