A vote from a Luton South constituent is more valuable than any other vote in the country, according to research by the Electoral Reform Society published this week.
An analysis of party spending during the 2010 general election showed huge differences in the amounts parties spend on attracting votes across the country.
In Luton South, £3.07 per vote was spent, the highest anywhere, compared to the lowest spend of just 14p in Bootle, Merseyside.
Luton South MP Gavin Shuker said: “I’m not surprised Luton South was the most hotly contested seat in 2010. It had the most candidates of any constituency in the country. Ultimately, voters rejected the big money Tories and their parachuted-in hopeful, and went for one of their own. That’s why I’m proud to represent the residents of Luton South.”
The Electoral Reform Society report, A Penny For Your Vote? says this shows British politics has become “the ultimate postcode lottery”.
The Luton South seat had been held by disgraced Labour MP Margaret Moran, who eventually stood trail for her false expenses claims of £53,000.
Before that, the seat had been a Conservative one until 1997, and the Tories fought hard to regain it, with the Liberal Democrats also spending £21,015 but gaining a mere 0.1 per cent of the vote.
The 12 candidates included representatives from the BNP. UKIP, the Greens, the Workers Revolutionary Party and five independents.
Amongst the independents were Esther Rantzen, a former journalist and television presenter whose campaign spent the most money.
Labour retained the seat.
The Electoral Reform Society report says: “These findings demonstrate how all votes are not, after all, created equal. The degree to which votes are valued depends almost entirely on where those votes are found. Parties target their scant resources where they are most likely to have an effect, meaning that voters in safe seats – of any or no allegiance – are effectively
ignored, even at election time.”
The closest competitor to Luton South’s costly votes are Aberconwy, where votes cost £2.18.