UK Politics

'Ed Stone' missing from Labour 2015 campaign spending

Ed Miliband unveils what became known as the 'Ed Stone' in the run-up to last year's general election Image copyright PA
Image caption The carving was seen as symptomatic of the failings of Labour's campaign

Critics of Labour's "Ed Stone" will have to wait a bit longer to find out how much was spent on the widely-mocked monument listing its election pledges.

Labour has revealed that it failed to include invoices for the plinth to the Electoral Commission as part of its total general election spending.

It blamed the omission on an "administrative error".

Labour spent £12m on the campaign, the watchdog's figures show, compared with £15.5m spent by the Conservatives.

In total, £39m was spent by the UK's six largest parties on the campaign, an increase on the £34.4m spent in 2010 but lower than the record £42m spent in 2005.

Although comfortably outspending Labour over the regulated period - between 23 May 2014 and 7 May 2015 - the Conservatives spent less than in 2010, when their budget was £16.6m. In contrast, Labour spent more than in 2010, when their total outlay was £8m.

A breakdown of the figures show the Conservatives spent 27.7% of their budget on "unsolicited material", such as flyers, and 23.2% on advertising while Labour spent 61% of their budget on "unsolicited material" and 7.6% on advertising.

How money was spent by all parties

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The SNP's campaign war chest increased hugely

Unsolicited material: £15.04m

Market research and canvassing: £7.61m

Advertising: £6.86m

Rallies and other events: £2.49m

Overheads and general admin: £2.02m

Transport: £1.67m

Campaign broadcasts: £866,000

Media: £329,713

Manifestos: £318,880

Source: Electoral Commission

Spending on rallies accounted for 13% of Labour's total expenditure compared with the Conservatives' 5% while the Conservatives spent 30.1% of their budget on market research and canvassing against Labour's 7.7% outlay.

The Conservatives spent £1.2m on advertising on Facebook in the year before the poll while Labour spent just over £16,000.

Ed Miliband unveiled the eight foot stone carving on the final weekend of the campaign, saying that it would be installed in the garden of Downing Street to remind the party of its duty to honour its six main election promises.

The move was met with near universal derision by the media and the subsequent fate of what became known as the "Ed Stone" has been unclear. Various unconfirmed reports have suggested it resides in a warehouse in London or has been destroyed.

Spending on the stone is not included in the Electoral Commission data released on Wednesday.

Labour said: "Due to an administrative error these invoices were not included with other items of campaign spend. We have informed the Electoral Commission and will seek to rectify this error as soon as possible."

The figures do not cover some administrative spending, for instance on staff, while spending by individual candidates is reported separately.

The SNP reported the biggest rise in spending compared with 2010, when their expenditure totalled £316,000. In contrast, the Lib Dems' spending fell from £4.7m in 2010 to £3.5m last year.

The UK Independence Party spent £2.8m while the Greens spent £1.1m. UKIP spent the least per vote gained while the SNP spent least per MP won.

In the 2015 general election the Conservatives had 331 MPs elected, Labour 232, the SNP 56, and the Lib Dems 8.

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