The funding of constituency party general election campaigns in Great Britain
The issues of political party campaign expenditure and funding sources are again high on the British political agenda. Most attention is focused on the amounts raised and spent by the parties nationally, with much less being devoted to the separate local parties in the 641 parliamentary constituencies -- where the amounts that can be spent on general election campaigns are subject to legal constraints. Little is known about the sources of funds for those campaigns, and research on the 1997 general election has shown that for most parties the legal requirement to disclose where they obtain their income does not result in the disclosure of original sources of their income. As at previous elections, however, the amounts spent in the constituencies have an impact on the outcome, sustaining the case for regulation; much is spent outside the legal constraints, however, and it is difficult to envisage ways in which this might be regulated.