Ukip donations overtake Liberal Democrats
Nigel Farage’s party raises £1.4m, but £1m comes from a singler donor the Eurosceptic former Tory backer Paul Sykes.
The UK Independence party has raised more money than the Liberal Democrats for the first time, according to official figures released on Wednesday for the second quarter.
Nigel Farage’s party raised £1.4m, £170,00 more than the coalition party. It has also topped the list of the highest individual gift to any single party, after receiving £1m from Paul Sykes, a former Tory donor, over the same period.
The figures from the Electoral Commission also showed that the Conservative party raised nearly twice as much as Labour, with gifts from City donors helping its total to £7.2m.
The figures reflect the period leading up to the European elections when Ukip ran its biggest campaign and won 27.5% of the vote, beating all other parties. The Tories also launched high-profile campaigns to fight off Ukip’s threat.
Recently released party accounts show that the Lib Dems’ membership of 43,451 is also being challenged by Ukip which had 32,447 members.
One of the biggest individual donations was £629,570 to Labour by Sir David Garrard, a property magnate, according to the commission, while the Tories’ largest were two donations of £500,000 each.
Michael Farmer – the financier and party co-treasurer who was among 12 new Conservative working peers announced last week – gave £333,500 .
Of Labour’s funds, £683,342 came from the trade union Unison.
The bulk of Ukip’s donations came from an injection of just over £1m from Highstone Group Ltd, the company belonging to Sykes, who bankrolled the Eurosceptic party’s poster campaign.
Labour said the figures showed another £2m had been raised by the Tories from donors who attended private dinners with David Cameron and other senior ministers – taking the total to £5m this year. They calculate that the Tories have received £45.7m from donors connected to hedge funds since records began.
The shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jonathan Ashworth, said: “When millions are flowing in from hedge funds and exclusive groups of donors, is it any wonder David Cameron stands up for the privileged few? Millionaires and hedge funds have been given a tax cut while hardworking families suffer from a cost-of-living crisis.”
The Tories said Labour had now received a total of £34m from trade unions since Ed Miliband became leader. Conservative party chairman, Grant Shapps, said: “Union bosses like Len McCluskey have siphoned off £34m from their members’ pay-packets, and funnelled it into Labour’s election war chest – a truly staggering amount.”
- The Guardian,