Labor spent £ 897 on England flag flyers in the lost Hartlepool election
- Exclusive: Official expense claims show Labor spent £ 897.60 on St. George’s flyers.
- The flyers cost him more than his more traditional push to encourage mail-in vote registrations.
- Labor lost the by-election, despite spending £ 8,000 more than the Tories.
Labor spent nearly £ 900 on St. George’s flyers featuring the English flag as part of its unsuccessful campaign in Hartlepool’s by-election, Insider can reveal.
The election expenses report, signed by party candidate Paul Williams, includes details of spending in the constituency, which was previously held by Labor.
Jill Mortimer, a Conservative, won the seat 16% ahead of Labor. It was only the second time since the 1980s that an opposition party lost a seat to the ruling party.
This tweet from Williams shows one of the leaflets. St. George’s Day was April 23, two weeks before polling day, May 6.
—Dr Paul Williams (@PaulWilliamsLAB) April 23, 2021
Despite the loss of the by-election, the Labor Party spent more than its rivals, declaring £ 95,139.05 of a limit of £ 100,000. The Tories said they only spent £ 86,991.77.
The Conservatives’ biggest spending was £ 21,950.57 on direct mail to voters, followed by £ 21,600 on “research”.
The Labor Party’s spending on the St. George’s flyer is more than the £ 312 the party spent on an A5 flyer for election week; the £ 567 spent on ‘postal voting cards’; or the £ 46.50 spent on early voting cards. Other receipts for £ 1,060 from the same company were for a quantity of 40,000 “pledge leaflets”.
The A5 flyers featured the cross of St. George on one side and on the other, voters wished “Happy St. George from Dr Paul Williams and the Labor team.”
He encouraged recipients to “display this poster with pride in your window. Please enjoy St. George’s Day in a secure manner against Covid, helping us all defeat the virus together,” the Telegraph reported.
The leaflets came months after the Guardian leaked an internal Labor presentation, which said stronger communication was needed on “Labor’s respect and commitment to the country”.
He suggested that “the use of the flag, the veterans, smart dress at the war memorial, etc. gives voters a sense of genuine alignment with values.”
Previous attempts by the Labor Party to discuss St George’s Cross have seen the resignation of shadow cabinet minister Emily Thornberry over a photograph of a house with three English flags and a white van.
Another shadow cabinet minister suggested the party should “wrap itself in the flag of St George” after its loss in the 2015 general election, the Independent reported.
A Labor spokesperson told The Telegraph in April: “Paul and the campaign team were proud to celebrate St. George’s Day and enjoyed a sunny day with many positive conversations with voters.”
The Labor Party is currently in a bad financial situation, according to the comments of the party general secretary, David Evans, reported by LabourList.
Its problems are said to stem from declining income due to declining membership and the cost of dealing with cases of anti-Semitism.
The insider contacted Labor for comment.