THE 2017 General Election was one fought on Facebook and fuelled by pizza and coffee.
In total, the Conservatives spent more than £18.5m at last year’s general election, compared to £11m of spending by Labour and £6.8m by the Liberal Democrats.
Election expenses data show that the Conservatives spent £2.1million on Facebook, compared to a spend of just £577,270 by Labour.
All three parties spent comparatively very little on Twitter, showing the dominant force of the social media giant in spreading the political message.
Only the Liberal Democrats spent more on Royal Mail than online channels, showing a shift in how the main political parties reach out to their audiences.
The biggest area of spending among the main political parties is marketing and research. Collectively, all parties spent nearly £7,750,000 on marketing and canvassing members of the public during the election campaign.
Whilst companies in Wales benefitted little compared to spend in London, the expenses data show that the Green Party spent £142 at Chapter Arts in Canton which was the location for one of their campaign rallies.
Plaid Cymru spent just over £2,500 in the Cardiff Metro as part of it’s advertising campaign, the only party to advertise in the free publication.
The Lib Dems also paid out £2,795 to Disney, which is understood to cover the cost of a cancelled Caribbean cruise. It is Lib Dem policy to refund any member of staff for having to postpone holidays due to election commitments.
When it comes to food on the go, Dominos Pizza and Pret A Manger are the overwhelming favourites. As well as a spend of £1,300 on Dominos and £1,000 at Pret a Manger, the Tories spent nearly £13,000 at The Sandwich Shop. The Sandwich Shop is on Dacre Street in Westminster where a coronation chicken sandwich costs a competitive £3.00.
The Conservatives also spent nearly £1,000 on Deliveroo, which is a food delivery service.
Their Liberal Democrat colleagues prefer Greggs and McDonalds for their food options.
Coffee chains also feature prominently in the expenses register, with members of the Liberal Democrats being the biggest coffee drinkers. Starbucks is the most popular coffee chain for both the Liberal Democrats and the Tories.
It seems that few Tories like the popular Café Nero chain.
The Electoral Commission has confirmed that it has opened a number of investigations into spending records provided by parties. The Conservatives, Labour and the Greens are under investigation for submitting spending returns with missing invoices and potentially inaccurate statements of payments.
Bob Posner, the head of political finance at the Electoral Commission, said: “It is vital that voters are given an opportunity to see accurate and full reportable data on what parties and campaigners spent money on in order to influence them at last year’s general election.
“We are investigating possible breaches of the rules. However, our ongoing discussions with the major parties indicate to us that they may wish to consider the robustness of their internal governance and level of resourcing to ensure they can deliver what the law requires.”