PENDLE Tory Andrew Stephenson comfortably topped the table of East Lancashire MPs' spending on political advertising on Facebook over the past 12 months ­— shelling out £2,482.

His Rossendale and Darwen Conservative colleague Jake Berry racked up a bill of £477 while Hyndburn Labour MP Graham Jones spent £414.

Blackburn’s Kate Hollern, Ribble Valley’s Nigel Evans and Burnley’s Julie Cooper all spent nothing but are thinking of buying social media advertising during the current General Election campaign.

Mr Jones' total includes less than £100 worth of Facebook adverts paid for in the past week.

Mrs Hollern expressed astonishment at Foreign Office minister Mr Stephenson spending on Facebook political advertising which he said was all privately paid for.

Mr Jones said the Conservatives bought social media advertising to make up for their lack of activists campaigning on the ground.

Mr Stephenson: “Social media is an important tool for MPs to engage with their constituents.

“It allows me to update Pendle residents on what I’m doing for Pendle while down in Westminster but also to highlight local causes and charities that don’t always get the attention they deserve. All my Facebook promotions are paid for privately, I have never claimed any expenses for Facebook adverts.”

Mrs Hollern said: "I find it quite astonishing that Andrew feels the need to spend such amounts of money on self-promotion. I have a Facebook and twitter page, both of which receive significant responses without spending large sums of money. I do spend small amounts on page promotions during election periods, and will be doing so again over the coming weeks. However, my Facebook page is easily accessible and well known across Blackburn. For me it’s more about getting results for my constituents."

Mr Jones said: “The Tories and UKIP/The Brexit Party will spend fortunes on social media advertising as they have too few willing activists. We will have to try and match the spending of corporate Tory donors.”

Mr Evans said: “Social media political advertising is not something I have used in the past.

“However my campaign team are looking at how we can use it in the future and in the current election campaign.

“We do a lot of traditional face to face campaigning on the doorstep and will continue to do so.

“Social media advertising is another tool for keeping in touch with my constituents.”

Burnley MP Mrs Cooper said: “I prefer going out and meeting my constituents face to face and at street stalls.

“I shall be doing a lot of that in my election campaign - knocking on doors and giving out leaflets.

“I am looking at using Facebook and other social media advertising to get the message out but we do not have the type of money to spend on it the Tories have

“I prefer traditional campaigning and speaking to people personally.”

Northern Powerhouse minister Mr Berry said: “Social media is an increasingly important part of all election campaigns. However, I will be spending the vast majority of my time out knocking on doors and speaking to people about the issues that matter to them.”