Tories rack up £5m in donations this spring as Labour attracts just £2m
The Tories racked up more than £5million in donations this spring – well over double the amount Labour managed to attract.
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.
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.