David Miliband raises £185,000 for leadership bid

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Indy Politics

David Miliband brandished his political fund-raising abilities today as it emerged he had attracted far more in donations to his Labour leadership bid than any of his rivals.

The shadow foreign secretary has so far racked up £185,265 in financial support from major backers, according to the Electoral Commission.

That is apart from 94 other donations of less than £1,500 which do not need to be declared and two cash gifts from the Usdaw and Community unions which will be listed in future months.

By contrast, shadow education secretary Ed Balls has generated £28,419 in donations of more than £1,500 while Ed Miliband, the shadow energy secretary, has raised £15,000.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham and left-wing backbencher Diane Abbott, who complete the five-strong line-up of leadership contenders, have had no donations to report.

David Miliband suggested today that he had the fund-raising potential to help get the cash-strapped Labour Party's finances "back in order".

The party needed to be able to "take on the Ashcroft millions", he said, referring to Tory donor Lord Ashcroft's support for Conservative candidates in marginal seats.

"The work I am doing to build a wide and diverse funding base for my campaign is the first step to funding the fight up and down the country, starting with the Scottish and Welsh parliament and the local elections next May," he said.

"We need to attract money to be an effective fighting machine to get the Tories out and get Labour winning again."

Mr Miliband has already used money donated to his campaign to train 180 Labour members to be community organisers. He wants to train 1,000 by the end of the campaign in September.