Cash For Questions: Would You Crowdfund A Prospective MP?

Chris Lockie
By Chris Lockie Last edited 112 months ago

Last Updated 25 March 2015

Cash For Questions: Would You Crowdfund A Prospective MP?

Amelia Womack of the Green Party

Funding of political parties and candidates is a potential issue for all parties as the election hovers into view; witness the minor furore when it turned out even Labour have a hedge fund manager stumping up cash.

But not every candidate enjoys the backing of a character with more money than sense. And now it seems a good many of London’s budding Members of Parliament are turning to, well, you, to get them on their way.

Our investigations have unearthed neither of the two main parties needing to turn to crowdfunding; perhaps to do so would invoke some sort of snobbish embarrassment. The Lib Dems, however, have dipped a toe into the water, with candidates for Ealing Southall and Hendon currently begging for your funds. Given the yellows lost each seat by about 15,000 votes last time around...well, you mustn’t let that sway you. Everyone loves a tryer.

You'd think that sitting MPs might have an edge when it comes to funding, particularly those with a long track record in Parliament. But this election is likely to be particularly tricky for the Lib Dems and few are in as tight a spot as Simon Hughes, who's using a curious site named Nation Builder to scrape together funds for re-election in Bermondsey and Old Southwark.

However, it’s the Greens who are going at it hammer and tongs. So far eight areas of London have met their moderate crowdfunding targets for the party, in Carshalton and Wallington, Islington South and Finsbury, Ealing, Lewisham West and Penge, Wandsworth, Streatham, Hackney and Westminster. That leaves just two to get over the line: time to step up, lefties of Camberwell and Peckham and Brent.

But wait, what’s this? Even party leaders need a helping hand? It’s not quite clear, because on the one hand Natalie Bennett has sailed past her target, but on the other hand, she hasn’t.

The Greens aren’t the only leftward party looking for financial backing — Left Unity also think they stand a chance, though for some reason only one candidate Simon Hardy, is short of cash, as he looks to stand in Vauxhall. Just sixty quid more, and Simon guarantees he will end privatisation, end stop and search and raise the minimum wage to a tenner. Really, those are the pledge rewards.

We’ve managed to track down just one independent candidate who’s turned to crowdfunding: Michaela Young, in Hackney South and Shoreditch. Or rather, we did; in the last couple of days the crowdfunder the link above points to has vanished. We can only speculate what Michaela’s burning issue may have been. Not enough stories about poo, perhaps.

That’s all she wrote as far as candidates are concerned, though no doubt there’s a couple who’ve slipped through our net (comments below, please). But we have managed to track down one more election-related crowdfunding project. Had enough of the monarchy? Apparently election season is the right time to act, though quite what Republic in Parliament will do with the unusual sum of £7,300, should they raise it, is anyone’s. You do though get signed mugs, books and a golf umbrella (?) for coughing up to find out.