Revealed: The £40,000 cost of fighting the election

New figures have revealed the three major parties spent more than £40,000 in just four weeks battling for Northampton's parliamentary seats in the run-up to the General Election.

The figures, which reveal what each of the candidates for Northampton North and Northampton South spent, have now been sent to the Electoral Commission to check they haven't broken spending rules.

They show in the four-week campaign leading up to election day, on May 6, the major parties were spending a combined 10,000 a week on political leaflets and advertising.

Michael Ellis, the new Conservative MP for Northampton North, was the biggest spender, shelling out almost 10,200 during the month-long campaign. Of that, he spent more than 6,000 on leaflets, and almost 1,500 on advertising. He also spent 55 on helium and 30 hiring out a church hall.

The expenses also show Mr Ellis spent more than 2,000 on an eye-catching campaign that saw his face pasted on the side of 10 buses.

All his money came through donations from the local Conservative Party.

Andrew Simpson, the Liberal Democrat candidate, spent 9,866 during his campaign, with more than 8,000 going on party political leaflets.

In what was Northampton's most closely fought seat, and one that attracted a lot of cash, former MP Sally Keeble spent almost 7,800 fighting to stay in parliament.

In Northampton South, Brian Binley spent 9,656 in his successful bid to be re-elected, with more than 6,000 spent on printing and distributing leaflets.

His expenses reveal he received a series of private donations, including 1,000 from Lord Spencer, better known as Earl Spencer, and 500 from the former MP for Northampton South, Lord Naseby.

Mr Binley also received donations ranging from 100 to 1,000 from another 11 individuals and local businessmen.

Also fighting for his seat was the Liberal Democrat candidate, Paul Varnsverry, who spent just 1,667 on his campaign.

Clyde Loakes, the Labour candidate, spent 1,826, although his expenditure does not state whether the money came from the local or national party.

Independent candidate and former MP Tony Clarke splashed out more than 8,000, including 5,000 of his own money, in a bid to win the Northampton South seat.

His campaign, which saw him finish fourth, included five giant vinyl banners, at an expense of 2,000, and 1,000 25mm badges, which cost 145.