Lib Dems overtake Labour in party donations for first time
The Liberal Democrats raised more than Labour in party donations for the first time ever, suggesting a post-Brexit bounce for the party.
Tim Farron’s party received a total of £1,972,904 in the final three months of 2016, compared to Labour’s £1,970,055.
By contrast, the Conservatives' raised the most donations, taking in £3.6 million.
Some £1 million of the Lib Dems' cash came from businessman Greg Nasmyth, who is reported to have been motivated by the party’s anti-Brexit stance.
The Electoral Commission data also reveals that Ukip raised just £33k, less than the Green Party and Co-operative Party.
‘THERESA MAY’S CHEERLEADERS’
Lib Dem president Sal Brinton said: “These donations are because of Brexit. People want a voice that believes Britain is open, tolerant and united.
“Millions of people want to be heard, and a clear voice saying Britain must stay in the heart of Europe. This voice is the Liberal Democrats.
“Labour do not offer that any more, they are Theresa May’s cheerleaders.
“Money is not the full picture here: we have had a famous by-election victory in Richmond Park, made 30 council gains up and down the country, and have our highest membership this century.
“Whatever is going on in Jeremy Corbyn’s divided and extreme Labour party, it is clear the Liberal Democrat fightback is on, providing the real opposition to the Conservative Brexit government.”
Speaking on Sky News, Lib Dem leader in the Lords, Lord Newby, welcomed the boost for his party over their pro-European stance, but said he was “sorry that it’s on the back of an impending national disaster.”
‘FEASTING ON THE CORPSE OF LABOUR’
Former Tory minister Lord Tebbit told Sky News the Lib Dems were “feasting on the corpse” of Labour, adding that “most Labour voters have given up on the present Labour party”.
A Labour spokesperson said: “Labour is a mass membership party, proud to be funded by members and working people. It is this broad funding base that makes us the party of ordinary working people, while our main rivals increasingly rely on a small pool of donors.”
In addition to public donations, five parties accepted a total of more than £2.4 million from public funds – money and assistance to parliamentary opposition parties.
The £1,797,090 received by Labour dwarfed the £57,529 received by the Tories, while the SNP and Lib Dems received £298,635 and £210,729 respectively.
Overall the period saw over £1.2 million more in reported donations than in the third quarter of 2016, although it is around £1.5 million less compared to the same quarter in 2015.