Hedge fund chiefs have donated £1.32m to the Conservative Party in the space of only three months, official figures revealed yesterday.
The money from 18 individuals and companies made up around a quarter of the total amount given to the Tories between September and December 2013, the latest Electoral Commission figures show. Longstanding Tory donor Michael Farmer, of RK Capital Management, gave the largest donation out of the group, with £267,000, followed by James Lupton of Greenhill with £259,000 and Christopher Rokos of Brevan Howard, who donated £230,000. Ten of the 18 donors, including these three, attend the exclusive leaders' group dinners with David Cameron and other senior Cabinet ministers.
Labour claimed the figures showed that Mr Cameron relies heavily on funding from hedge fund bosses. Michael Dugher, shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, linked the donations to George Osborne's scrapping of stamp duty reserve tax on funds, worth £145m to hedge fund companies.
In total, hedge fund bosses have donated more than £38m to the Tory party since Electoral Commission records began. Mr Dugher said: "David Cameron is wining and dining the mega-rich to line his party's pockets. Is it any wonder he is so out of touch with ordinary families suffering a cost-of-living crisis? Mr Cameron is taking money from the very people who are benefiting from his policies, such as a millionaire's tax cut and his refusal to repeal the bankers' bonus tax.
"This government prioritises the interests of the privileged few who dine with the PM, not Britain's hard-working families."
Before what is expected to be a bitter and expensive election next year, all political parties are raking in more cash than a year ago. The Tories received £4.8m, Labour raised £3.2m and the Lib Dems £1.3m. The largest donation to the Tories during the quarter was a bequest from an 85-year-old widow, Violet Baker, who left £769,000, to the dismay of her Labour-supporting relatives. A Tory spokesman said: "All donations have been declared in the correct way."