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Dale’s Diary: Cash pours into Hall Green, and Hemming slams ‘three jobs Phillips’

Dale’s Diary: Cash pours into Hall Green, and Hemming slams ‘three jobs Phillips’

🕔02.Apr 2015

Birmingham Hall Green does not usually feature on any list of ‘interesting’ seats where a General Election upset might occur. Sitting Labour MP Roger Godsiff is hot favourite to be returned.

And yet, strangely, Hall Green is leading the way in one respect. More money – just under £70,000 – has been spent so far by the political parties on advertising and campaigning here than in any other Birmingham constituency.

That’s an average of £1.43 per vote and well above the UK average spend of £1 per vote, according to figures from the Electoral Commission.

Compare that to Labour’s top target seat, Birmingham Yardley, where Cllr Jess Phillips hopes to overturn Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming’s 3,002-vote majority, and the difference is stark. Total spending by the political parties in Yardley amounts to a derisory £26,177 or 66p per vote, which millionaire Hemming could probably fund from his back pocket.

Birmingham Edgbaston, where the Tories are engaged in their traditional attempt to unseat Labour MP Gisela Stuart, is just behind Hall Green in the generosity stakes with a total spend of £58,690, or £1.41 per vote.

Oddly, in Birmingham Northfield, the Tories’ top target seat, the parties have spent only £23,594 to date, or 56p per vote. Perhaps there will be a last minute onslaught of publicity on behalf of sitting Labour MP Richard Burden and Tory candidate Rachel Maclean.

Spending in Birmingham Hall Green is higher at this stage of the campaign than any of the West Midlands marginal seats. Based on the 2010 General Election results, Mr Godsiff’s position may not be as safe as Labour might like to assume. His share of the vote slumped by 14 per cent against a 25 per cent increase in support for Respect candidate Salma Yaqoob at the 2010 election.

Ms Yaqoob, a popular local figure, isn’t standing this time. The Respect candidate is Shiraz Peer and city councillor Jerry Evans is contesting the seat again for the Liberal Democrats.

In 2010, Mr Godsiff took 32.9 per cent of votes cast, Ms Yaqoob 25.1 per cent, Mr Evans 24.6 per cent and Tory candidate Jo Barker 15 per cent. There is, therefore, plenty to play for in 2015.

You can see just how much the parties are spending in your patch with this handy spend per constituency guide published in the Mirror.

Birmingham and West Midlands seats:

Hall Green: total spend £69,510, spend per vote £1.43.

Edgbaston: total spend £58,690, spend per vote £1.41.

Erdington: total spend £40,507, spend per vote £1.14.

Sutton Coldfield: total spend £33,545, spend per vote 66p.

Yardley: total spend £26,177, spend per vote 64p.

Perry Barr: total spend £24,483, spend per vote 59p

Northfield: total spend £23,594, spend per vote 56p.

Hodge Hill: total spend £19,501, spend per vote 46p.

Selly Oak: total spend £20,984, spend per vote 46p.

Ladywood: total spend £14,182, spend per vote 40p.

Dudley North: total spend £50,337, spend per vote £1.30.

Solihull: total spend £66,799, spend per vote £1.21.

Halesowen and Rowley Regis: total spend £52,420, spend per vote £1.19.

Warwick and Leamington: total spend £49,611, spend per vote £1.02.

Stratford on Avon: total spend £51,430, spend per vote £1.02.

Wolverhampton South-west: total spend £40,669, spend per vote £1.01.

Cannock Chase: total spend £41,653, spend per vote 91p.

North Warwickshire: total spend £42,580, spend per vote 90p.

Dudley South: total spend £33,488, spend per vote 88p.

Worcester: total spend £42,627, spend per vote 87p.

Tamworth: total spend: £39,685, spend per vote 86p.

Nuneaton: £38,140, spend per vote 85p.

Wyre Forest: total spend £40,146, spend per vote 79p.

Redditch: total spend £34,493, spend per vote 78p.

Meriden: total spend £30,657, spend per vote 56p.

Talking of Birmingham Yardley, it’s all getting a bit personal.

Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming has taken exception to “inaccurate” leaflets distributed on behalf of Labour candidate Jess Phillips.

It seems that Hemming has been wrongly accused of continuing to claim subsistence allowance as an MP (not that he isn’t entitled to do so). He states that he gave up claiming the allowance in 2009 “as my contribution to reducing the deficit”.

Taking to his blog, Hemming claims that Phillips is failing to follow his own parsimonious example and, he claims, is continuing to tuck into the monthly city council tea (which has also been pared down in the age of austerity).

The thing that most irritates me about Labour’s leaflets is the rubbish about subsistence. As I made clear on this blog earlier I stopped claiming subsistence in April 2009 – as my contribution to reducing the deficit.

However, the local Labour MPs did not stop claiming subsistence. Furthermore Jess Phillips has not been obvious in her absence from the annual council dinner. So we are paying for her dinner, we are paying for Roger Godsiff and Liam Byrne’s dinner, but I am paying for my dinner myself.

Hemming goes on to point out that Phillips “declares three jobs from which she earns money” including a role in the office of Jack Dromey MP.

He also claims that pictures featured in Phillips’ leaflets purporting to be of people and places in Yardley are actually taken in the neighbouring constituency of Erdington.

And who said there is no such thing as personalities in politics these days?

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