Tories rack up £5m in donations this spring as Labour attracts just £2m

Posted On: 
29th August 2019

The Tories racked up more than £5million in donations this spring – well over double the amount Labour managed to attract.

The Conservatives raked in more than double the amount of donations as Labour
Credit: 
PA Images

New figures from the Electoral Commission for the second quarter of 2019 show the Conservatives and the official opposition party received almost identical amounts of revenue.

But of the £5.4million the Tories took in more than £5.3million of that was from donations by more than 200 wealthy individuals.

Labour hit with £1K fine by watchdog for inaccurate donation reports

Brexit Party at ‘high risk’ of taking ‘impermissible’ donations, warns elections watchdog

Tories rake in £6m more than Labour in political donations

Meanwhile Labour only took £2million from less than 100 donors, with the other £3million coming from public funds handed out to opposition groups, known as “short money”.

The biggest donor to the Conservatives was its co-treasurer Ehud Sheleg, a Mayfair art gallery director who gave more than £1 million in the period between April 1 and June 30.

The Israeli-born businessman has become one of the party’s biggest benefactors in recent years, handing over more than £1.3 million in 2018.

In second place with donations totalling £250,000 was the construction firm JCB, whose chairman Anthony Bamford is another long-standing donor to the Conservatives.

And in third was Lubov Chernukhin, the wife of a former Russian minister, who gave £235,000, to add to the hundreds of thousands she has donated in previous years.

She reportedly paid £135,000 at the Conservative Party’s Black and White ball this year to dine with the-then Prime Minister Theresa may at the five-star Goring Hotel in central London.

A banker, she is married to Vladimir Chernukhin, former deputy finance minister under Vladimir Putin, and the couple now live in London.

For Labour, the four top donors were the big unions, £488,000 from Unite, £360,000 from the GMB, £322,000 from Unison, and £318,000 from Usdaw.

The party's highest donation from an individual was a £115,000 bequest from Reginald Mead, a supporter from Milton Keynes who died last year.

Overall the Electoral Commission said in the period between April 1 and June 30 a total of 16 political parties reported accepting a total of £14,851,158.

It said: “This is over £8 million more than the amount accepted in the previous quarter, between 1 January and 31 March 2019.”

The Lib Dems amassed £1.3 million in donations, the Independent group for Change £263,000, and £157,000 for the SNP, though that was bumped up to £493,000 through short money.

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party took in just over £1million, thanks to almost £500,000 from two former Tory donors Jeremy Hosking and Christopher Harborne, but his former party Ukip raked in just £36,000.

Meanwhile Sinn Féin were handed £1.5 million in possibly the largest ever donation to a Northern Irish political party.

The cash came from a bequest by William E Hampton, but no other information has been provided by the Electoral Commission.