Conservatives’ private donations down 90 per cent on last election campaign

Keir Starmer's largest donation was £2.5 million from Lord Sainsbury, former chairman of the supermarket chain
Keir Starmer's largest donation was £2.5 million from Lord Sainsbury, former chairman of the supermarket chain - JANE BARLOW/PA

The Conservatives have received just a tenth of the private donations they did in 2019 in a stark revelation of the state of the party’s campaign finances.

Figures released by the Electoral Commission show the party brought in £889,000 from private sources in the first two weeks of the campaign.

That figure represents only a tenth of the £8.7 million raked in during the same period in the 2019 election.

Labour received private donations worth £4.2 million in the second week of the campaign, 14 times as much as the Conservatives who received £292,500 between June 6 and 12.

It brings the total donations given to Sir Keir Starmer’s party in the first two weeks of the campaign to £5.1 million.

The Conservatives’ largest donations in the second week of the campaign were £50,000 each from Bestway Wholesale, a company ultimately owned by Tory peer Lord Zameer Choudrey through the Guernsey-based Bestway Group, and an organisation called The Spring Lunch.

The Spring Lunch is an unincorporated association and therefore does not have to provide records of who controls it, although it is registered to an address in Pulham St Mary, Norfolk.

Significant donors

Labour’s largest donation was £2.5 million from Lord Sainsbury, the former chairman of the eponymous supermarket chain who gave £8 million to the Liberal Democrats in 2019.

Other significant donors were Gary Lubner, the Autoglass chief, who gave £900,000, and hedge fund manager Martin Taylor, who donated £700,000.

In total, Labour’s private donations for the first two weeks of the campaign amounted to £5,157,400, more than 14 times the £361,042 they received throughout the entirety of the 2019 campaign.

The Electoral Commission figures, which collate donations from private individuals and companies between June 6 and 12, also show that Reform UK brought in donations worth more than three times more than those given to the Conservatives.

Nigel Farage’s party raised a total of £742,000, largely thanks to a £500,000 donation from Britain Means Business Ltd, a company controlled by Richard Tice, the party chairman.

Reform also received £50,000 from Holly Valance, the former pop star and Neighbours actor who is a prominent supporter.

The Liberal Democrats received £335,000 in the second week of the campaign, taking their total for the election to £789,999.

Other donations included £150,000 from businessman Safwan Adam and a £100,000 bequest from John Faulkner, a long-standing party member who left the party £1 million in his will in 2023.

Political parties are required to provide weekly reports of donations of more than £11,180, after the Government increased the threshold from £7,500 in January.