They’ve already been accused of trying to “buy the general election” by quietly raising the legal spending limit by £6.2 million to £32.7m in the face of concerns from the Electoral Commission over ‘undue influence’. The party has reportedly amassed a war chest of more than £70 million.

So if you want a flavour of how much cash Tories could be splashing on their bid to retain power, have a look at the document below. It’s a £114,000 invoice from Facebook to the Conservative Party — and that’s for just one month.

The bill (which Scrapbook obtained as part of the spending returns for the Rochester and Strood by-election) is dated 2 December and lists its ‘billing period’ as ‘NOV-14’.

Tory Facebook invoice

The invoice is itemised as follows:

  • “Email Collection New” — £71,147.25
  • “Page likes – Conservatives” — £23,998.82
  • “4040 Likes” — £12,713.38
  • “Kelly Tolhurst for Rochester and Strood” — £3,084.41
  • “Video advertising” — £4,014.35

If this is representative, it means they could be spaffing around £1 million per year on Facebook alone.

  1. John Hodgkinson says:

    Please excuse my ignorance, but could someone explain the Page Likes figure? Do the Tories pay every time someone likes their page, or are they paying for people to like them?

  2. @ John,
    They’re paying for their page to be promoted either on the side bar or in between posts with a ‘Like’ button as part of the advert. Whenever someone ‘Likes’ their page direct from the advert, they pay a set amount.

  3. Shouldn’t be allowed to be on the likes of FB touting for votes at public expense. All the cash for their campaigns should come from their OWN pockets as in USA. So, how much do they spend on other sites like FB?

  4. No Facebook likes work as follow, FB promote the page so people like it, until it attains x amount of likes.
    Fortunately, buying likes is pointless because you get an inordinate amount of bots who like the page, then never like content. So the page’s content gets less traction online relative to smaller pages with more legit fanbases.

  5. The cheque is to go to Facebook Ireland? Sounds like either Facebook tax dodge or the Tories hoping this won’t appear in any UK accounting.

  6. I am one of the people who has “liked” the Tories facebook page. They send me all kinds of interesting little facebook messages, which presumably they have paid someone to write. It was their original summons to “share the facts” which hooked me.
    I have been attempting to share “facts” with Tories ever since, on comment pages which are pretty lively because they seem to be 50/50 split between Conservative supporters and opponents (a disparate bunch of left wingers and Kippers who hope either to achieve political ends or amuse themselves by trolling the faithful.)
    It is unlikely to do Tories any good. Their core voters never go near facebook, and I seriously doubt whether as many as 50% of the people who have liked their facebook page intend voting for them.
    It’s nice to think that the Tories are footing the bill for me to “share the facts” on their facebook page.

  7. taxpayers are not paying for this, this comes from party funds. As for the comment about paying Facebook Ireland, that has more to do with Facebook wanting to operate from a low tax country and nothing to do with the Conservatives hoping it won’t show up. Doesn’t matter where invoices are paid, parties still have to declare what they’ve spent. Honestly, just how ignorant and stupid are you people.

  8. Steven at 4:09pm: How stupid are the people who call Brand a hypocrite because he pays rent to a company registered overseas? When you say “you people”, who do you mean?

  9. @Steven,,, some people may not be quite as well informed as you so obviously are eh ! this does not mean you have a right to abuse them,,, Personally I would say you were the ignorant and stupid one, take your head out of your arse and think before typing,, you sound like a tory, now that is an insult !!!

  10. Buying in votes is what a right of centre party will always do; It has no qualms about using its financial muscle. It saves the trouble of having policies that might make the prospect of raising the standard of living for the many for certainty of enriching the already well off. Another Tory led government will be a disaster for the poor, the disabled, the sick, and the unemployed.

  11. Steven, the Tories have used Taxpayers money to promote Conservative policies and individual Tory MPs have been caught trying to hide spending in the past.
    So it just goes to show what an ignorant person you are.

  12. Evidence right on his page, a selection – the paid comments stand out a mile:

    Prince Prince Butt Great… man … I like. U sir David ur personailty
    Bilal Yousaf… Loyal leader for the nation
    Alexandra Cuco… Great,success,prosperity,GOD blesses
    Amal Hashim… Your very lucky to have him,,, best regards from HKJ.
    Temraz Süleymanli… O Thank you, Sir.
    Olufemi Ehinolajumos… A GOOD MOVE SIR
    Kusum Parashar… Very nice photo of British Prim Minister David Cameron at the Railway station in UK.
    Bassam Yekhlef… May the God keep you united
    Rezouk Rachid Boufas… We will back you Mr Cameron
    Trefa Ahmed Amin… Very modest PM always proud of you

  13. Paying for likes clearly the “right” thing to do. I’m sure the 600K of likes on the Britain First hate-page didn’t come cheap, nor legitimately.

  14. The Tories hardly have any real members or activists, but have lots of money, much of it from the City. They’re no doubt wasting much of it, but must be hoping that splashing it around will win them the election. They’re no longer a mass party, just the political wing of the City and other moneybags.

  15. They’re not paying for “extra likes to be displayed” nor are they literally deciding “oh we want 5000 likes this month let’s buy that many” they’re advertising, they target people via facebooks ad platform power editor, select very specific target audience criteria and set said ads to run for X amount of time. This is standard social media marketing. Take it from a social media manager…

  16. OMG, this is outrageous….. how come the MSM haven’t put this on the front pages. Buying ‘likes’ I can’t get my head around this. Surely this defeats, and defrauds the public about facebook and the like system.

  17. Thanks for the laughs, dimwitted commenters. This is quite a simple arrangement and 80% of you have it completely arse about tit. Be seeing you soon on other news stories where you type your tosh before you think.

  18. I have logged onto our local Tory MP’s fb page and notice that nearly all the likes have come from people who live abroad not locals who you would expect, something doesn’t seem quite right here! He is Sajid Javid if you want to look on his fb page.

  19. Steven Flatman says:

    Tories buying likes is little different to the unions touting ‘Labour as the only option’ to members who are often pressured and in some cases even bullied into joining and paying subscriptions.

    These people are then bombarded with pro-Labour mail and money spent in their name when they often don’t agree.

    My own wife used to get at least monthly pro-Labour propaganda from the PCS, even after she cancelled her membership!

    Only major party that doesn’t engage in this sort of activity is UKIP, primarily because we don’t have unions or big businesses bankrolling us, but also because it’s fundamentally anti-democratic.

    If people want to get up and actively support a party that’s good, but neither should they be pressured to do so, nor should they be hoodwinked into paying into a collective there to protect their workers rights only to then have THEIR money donated to a party they don’t support.

    Laws should be in place to allow people to join either with a lower subscription with no political donation, or to chose from any registered party to have their money donated to.

  20. Ignorance is bliss, guys get your facts together before making derogatory comments, the conservatives as other parties use the internet to promote their campaigns, it was debated in the daily politics programme, all monies used in campaign by any party are raised by the parties and some of it is given by the government to all parties to assist with their campaigns. My only doubt is why it’s being paid to Facebook Ireland? Or is it ??

  21. Steven I agree with everything you say apart from the part about UKIP funding. If you are planning on voting for them I recommend you research who finances them so you know who they will represent if they gain power.

  22. @Steven Flatman January 14, 2015 at 3:38 pm
    Hasn’t opting out of the political levy been available since 1992?
    Section 82 of TULRCA requires that trade union rules allow members to opt out of the levy and sections 84 – 88 lay down the procedure for ensuring that effect is given to requests to opt out.

  23. @Fernando Reis January 14, 2015 at 5:33 pm
    It’s legal and the Conservatives have every right to use the donations that they receive to promote their warped views. What’s annoying is that the Tories do everything they possibly can to smother a.) the views of those who don’t want to be ruled by the idle rich and b.) the views of those who think that neo-liberal ideology is the path to a new form of feudalism / slavery.

  24. As someone who has promoted their page in the past (I have an author page) let me assure you that unless they’ve changed their format recently, genuine invoices from Facebook look absolutely nothing like this. Whoever created it was clever enough to use some genuinely correct information like FB’s address and the lack of VAT charged, but most of this is made up

  25. @Vimes
    If you read the article above you’ll note that the copy of the invoice was obtained from the official returns submitted by the Tories in respect of the by-election in Rochester and Strood. If you are correct, the Conservative Party expenses returns need to be examined to see if there is a case of fraud.

  26. I read it, however as I have no experience of whether this website is a reliable source, I’m not inclined towards believing its claims regarding the origin of its document when such documents are demonstrably fake to begin with.

    Anyone with even a slight knowledge of FB’s promoting process knows that they don’t sell likes, it’s against their policy. I have no love for the Tories, but I doubt they’d be stupid enough to put in a fake expenses record for such a high amount knowing that it would be suspicious.

    Its far more likely that this document has been dreamt up by someone with an axe to grind.

  27. It’s a pity the address shown on the invoice is incorrect… quite convincing otherwise…

    Just Google “Facebook Ireland LTD.” to see their real address…

    (Facebook Ireland Ltd
    Hanover Reach, 5-7 Hanover Quay
    2 Dublin
    IRELAND
    phone: +0016505434800
    fax: +0016505435325)

  28. PCS union does not pay a political levy to the Labour party so if your wife was getting pro Labour ‘propaganda’ it was not due to her Union membership……and, as others have said, do you REALLY think UKIP are any more democratic? Really?………

    I have been in PCS for years and can honestly say I have NEVER received any Labour emails etc. Perhaps they sense it will be a waste of time lol!

  29. @Welsh Dragon
    FACEBOOK staff are moving to new offices today in as the company double the size of its Dublin space in the Dublin docklands.
    The social networking site, which said earlier this year it is looking for 100 additional staff, has taken over No 4 Grand Canal Square close to the Bord Gais Energy Theatre at Grand Canal Dock, which is about 120,000 sq ft in size.
    The company, which is bringing employment levels in Dublin to 500 at its European hub, is understood to have signed a lease of at least 10 years.
    Facebook has long been looking for alternative offices close to its current headquarters in Grand Canal Dock.
    Source: The Independent 18 June 2014

  30. if this is from facebook ireland why is it Billed in GBP, FB would either bill in the currency of their opperating location, or in USD, they would not bill in GBP from a euro opperating location. Also The very thing that facebook stands for is opperating in the digital age, this is a scan in of a paper invoice. They do not send paper invoices as that would be expensive. It is all digitalized…nice, but fake

  31. Please explain, weldrake13, why invoices, to British buyers, from Amazon EU S.a.r.L. are in sterling. Don’t trip over the two short planks on your way out.

  32. What’s the ‘Email collection’ about? Does that mean facebook gives them our emails? This must be why I’m getting emails from IDS and other tories that I have to relegate to ‘Junk’ as they dirty my inbox! Anybody else noticed this?

  33. BTW I have posted a couple of comments and memes on their page which are immediately deleted. Negative comments probably are, doesn’t sound very democratic….oh wait… it’s the condems who can’t accept there’s anything wrong with them!

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