Tory donors include property companies, banking firms and the wife of a former minister in Putin's government
The latest figures from the Electoral Commission on donations to political parties over £7,500 were published last week. Donations reported cover the second quarter of 2022 – from April to June.
The figures show a significant difference in the amount of cash raised by the Tories and the Labour Party. Excluding public funds, the Tories received over £4.76m in donations. By contrast, Labour received £1.469m. That means the Tories secured three times as much in major donations than Labour. Even when including donations to the Co-Operative Party, which only stands candidates on a joint ticket with the Labour Party, the Tories still raised over twice as much.
The difference is even more stark when looking at the smaller parties. The Tories raised more than six times as much as the Liberal Democrats, and over 25 times more than the Green Party. The following donations were received by the smaller parties:
- Liberal Democrats – £774,696
- Co-Operative Party – £469,882
- Reclaim Party – £250,000
- Green Party of England and Wales – £166,400
- Sinn Fein – £100,000
- Alba – £50,000
- Scottish National Party – £47,634
- Democratic Unionist Party – £33,250
- Alliance Party of Northern Ireland – £25,000
- Reform UK – £20,000
- True & Fair Party – £16,000
- Scottish Green Party – £9,786
- Yorkshire Party – £7,998
- Social Democratic & Labour Party – £7,260
- Plaid Cymru – £3,896
The single largest donor to the Tories this quarter was Christopher Charles Sheriff Harborne, who donated £500,000 in May. Harborne is a businessman who resides in Thailand, has been described as a ‘crypto lobbyist’ and is the owner of AML Global – an aviation fuel company. Harborne was previously a major donor to the Brexit Party.
Among the other major donors to the Tories over the three month period are a number of property companies and banking firms.
Lubov Chernukhin – the wife of a former minister in Vladimir Putin’s government donated £15,000 to the Tories centrally, and £6,500 to Chipping Barnet Conservative Party in the second quarter of 2022. Chernukhin has donated more than £2m to the Conservative Party and its MPs since 2012.
When discussing previous donations made by Harborne to the Conservative Party, a spokesperson said, “Government policy is in no way influenced by Party donations – they are entirely separate”.
The single largest donor to the Labour Party from April-June 2022 was the GMB trade union. Other major donors include the green energy firm Ecotricity, which gave £200,000 to Labour in April.
Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward
Image credit: UK Government – Creative Commons