Former Tory donor gave Brexit Party £3m donation, new figures reveal
2 min read
A former Tory donor handed the Brexit Party £3million over the summer, new figures from the Electoral Commission reveal.
Businessman Christopher Harborne gave the huge sum to Nigel Farage’s party in the wake of their stunning success in May’s European elections.
It meant they received more money from donors than every party bar the Conservatives in the third quarter of 2019, comfortably surpassing Labour.
Mr Harborne is CEO of Sherriff Global Group, which deals in private planes, and the owner of AML Global, which sells jet fuel.
He had previously given the Brexit Party £200,000 earlier this year, having switched his allegiance form the Tories, who he has regularly donated to over the past decade.
His sister Katharine used to be a Tory councillor in the London Borough of Richmond, but left the party to stand unsuccessfully for the Brexit Party in the European Elections.
And she was originally selected as their candidate for Henley until Mr Farage stood down everyone running in Tory-held seats.
The latest report from the Electoral Commission, the independent body which regulates party and election finance, showed the Brexit Party received £3,390,000 between July and September.
The vast majority of that came from three separate donations of £1million from Mr Harbourne.
The Conservative Party took in £5.3million in donations, plus £424,749 of public funds to make a total of £5.7million.
The biggest donor was the party’s own treasurer Ehud Sheleg, who gave £375,000, while a woman called Kathlyn Baker handed over £354,958, and kitchen magnate Malcolm Healey gave £250,000.
Labour were not far behind on £5.47million, but only £2.8million was from donations as more than £2.6million came in public funding for opposition parties, known as “short money”.
Almost £1million of the cash gifted to them was from the trade union Unite, run by Jeremy Corbyn’s close ally Len McCluskey, and another million came from the GMB, Unison and Usdaw trade unions.
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe