Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is making waves by surpassing Donald Trump’s spending on Facebook ads for the potential general election later this year. This move signals an intensified campaign strategy aimed at solidifying Sunak’s grip on power.
Surpassing Trump’s Spending
Recent revelations shed light on the Conservative Party’s substantial boost in spending on social media ads, particularly on Sunak’s Facebook page. £104,500 was spent on Sunak’s page in the last month alone, dwarfing the spending of former U.S. President Donald Trump, who allocated only £87,229 during the same period.
The sheer magnitude of Sunak’s spending is evident in the daily investment of up to £15,000 to reach a million Facebook users, urging them to follow Sunak’s account for regular campaign updates.
A critical aspect of this spending surge is the quiet amendment made by the Tories in November, raising the spending limits for political parties. The revised limits now allow parties to spend up to £35 million in the year leading up to an election, marking an 80% increase from the previous cap.
These changes, introduced without parliamentary debate, have raised concerns among democracy advocates, who are losing confidence in the UK’s democratic process.
Concerns From Election Watchdog
The Electoral Commission, responsible for monitoring UK elections, is worried about the lack of evidence supporting recent changes. A spokesperson said, “The Commission has still not seen evidence to support these changes. We remain concerned that the proposals risk damaging the transparency of political donations and give significantly more scope for higher spending parties to campaign.”
“The Commission’s research shows a long-term decline in public confidence in the political finance system. We have been clear that any changes to spending or reporting thresholds should be supported by rigorous analysis, including on the likely impact on public confidence and transparency,” they said.
Christine Jardine MP, Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office spokesperson, is quick to criticize Sunak’s campaign spending, emphasizing that no amount of money can reverse the perceived failures of the current government.
Jardine said, “No matter how much money Sunak pours into his campaign, nothing can reverse the mess they have made. They are lining themselves up to spend eye-watering sums of money on a failed campaign and it’s a huge kick in the teeth for hardworking families desperately struggling through the cost of living crisis.”
Digital Campaigning Dynamics
Experts weigh in on the implications of the increased spending limits. Sam Jeffers of the campaign group Who Targets Me points out that the continued spending on Facebook ads is not only sustainable but also allows for additional campaign elements.
“The amount the Tories are spending on ads now is sustainable, just about,” he said. “If they spend £10,000 a day for the next 300 days, that’s £3m – and that’s before they massively ramp up before the election itself. Under the old rules, you wouldn’t have done that; it wouldn’t have been feasible. But now you’ve got another £16m you can do that.”
A Labour source, providing insights into the situation, criticized the Tories for treating politics like a game and questioned the efficacy of heavy donations in securing victory.
As Keir Starmer said this week, “The Tories treat politics like a game, but this time it’s one that they can’t fundraise their way to winning. A heavy donations chest means little when it’s weighed down by 14 years of chaos and a hollow leader who keeps bottling when to call the election,” the source said.
“There is no amount of fundraising money that will stop people from seeing the NHS on its knees, mortgages soaring and a stagnant economy. This is a government so devoid of accomplishments that the billboards they plan to buy should if they were honest for once, be blank canvases… The Prime Minister should find a backbone, give up on building a futile war chest and call the election now.”
The post Sunak Spent More Than Trump on His Social Media Campaign first appeared on Edge Media.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Fred Duval.