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Labour gallop ahead of Tories in donations stakes with £6.2m in EU poll run-up

Published 25/08/2016

Businessman Lord David Sainsbury donated £2,150,000 to Labour and £2,125,000 to the Liberal Democrats
Businessman Lord David Sainsbury donated £2,150,000 to Labour and £2,125,000 to the Liberal Democrats

Labour is way out in front when it comes to political donations, new figures reveal.

The party received £6,186,695 in such funding in the second quarter of the year, well ahead of the Tories on £4,321,937, according to the Electoral Commission.

In total, 12 registered political parties accepted almost £15 million in donations between April and June, up by £3 million on the previous quarter.

The Liberal Democrats received £2,867,678 during the period in the run-up to the EU referendum vote, while Ukip took £1,252,891, the Women's Equality Party accepted donations of £154,570, and the SNP £20,612.

Businessman Lord David Sainsbury donated £2,150,000 to Labour, and £2,125,000 to the Lib Dems.

The Conservatives' biggest individual donor was businessman Gerardo Lopez Fojaca, who gave the party £400,000, while Michael Davis handed them £262,500, the Electoral Commission reports.

Labour's other major contributors were unions, with Unite donating £816,559, and Unison £604,411.

More than £3 million of public funds was also given to political parties in the three-month period.

Ukip was the only significant party to submit its list of donations late, while the Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol Party failed to provide a report at all.

Electoral Commission spokesman Bob Posner said: "This data is hugely important in ensuring that our party finance system is as transparent as possible and it is therefore always disappointing when there is a failure to meet the statutory deadline.

"Where there is no reasonable explanation for such a failure, we will take a robust approach in dealing with this."

A Lib Dem spokesman said: "Lord Sainsbury has been a major figure in progressive politics over four decades. We are extremely grateful for his practical support, which recognises the phenomenal campaigning abilities of the Liberal Democrats, who in the referendum campaign held 1,000 street stalls and were calling up to 100,000 voters a day.

"His help was a recognition that we had the second largest party political campaign for Remain and was a testimony to the hard work of our members. It is largely because we got across such a uniquely positive case for Europe that, since the referendum, over 18,000 people have joined the Liberal Democrats. We have enormous respect for Lord Sainsbury and we see his help in the referendum campaign as a huge endorsement of this party's campaigning strength and our unequivocally pro-European ideals."

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