A WOMAN hoping to become Bournemouth’s first Labour MP says she has had to turn to the public to help pay her rent so she can afford to continue running her campaign.

Corrie Drew, who is the prospective parliamentary candidate for Bournemouth East, said she was forced to set up a crowdfunding page to raise £700 in April as a “full-on month of campaigning” for the local and European elections meant she was unable to take on enough paid work.

She is continuing to appeal for donations so she can “keep fighting” and win a seat at the next general election.

Ms Drew, who was chosen as a candidate by her party in May 2018, has been cleaning part-time while working 50 hours a week for Labour since December. She has also been lodging to save money, but says she cannot give enough hours to her political work unless supporters help her with her living costs.

“I’ve done everything I possibly can to budget so I can give as much time as possible to people in the community. That is what it will take for us to win a seat,” she said.

While candidates can apply for small expenses from the party, this does not extend to living costs Ms Drew said.

“While we have some money in a local savings pot to pay for leaflets and other materials, the party is not permitted to spend members’ money on a candidate’s campaign. I started crowdfunding as a lot of people said they would be willing to donate. And with the constant threat of a general election it’s difficult to start a full-time job.”

Ms Drew said while she was grateful for the support given to her so far, she recognises it is not a “long-term solution”. She is calling for all political parties to look at ways they can support candidates with lower incomes to improve representation in parliament.

“Traditionally seats have been won in parliament by those rich enough to take time to campaign. This has left us with a government of the privileged few. I want more than anything for people to believe that politics is about making a difference for them as opposed to the common perception that it’s a game played by wealthy people in Westminster,” she said.

Ms Drew, who has listed the priority issues in Bournemouth as rising rents and a lack of council housing, added: “I would love to know how many people in Dorset who have run for parliament that are renting.”

In September it was reported that fighting a seat sets a prospective parliamentary candidate back more than £11,000. The figure was revealed in a book called Why We Get The Wrong Politicians by journalist Isabel Hardman.