Political donations rise by £1.9m

 

Donations to political parties rose to just under £9 million in the first quarter of 2012 - up £1.9 million on the previous three months, Electoral Commission figures show.

The Conservatives continued to receive the most at £4,086,097 but Labour was close behind, bringing in £3,452,441.

Money given to the Liberal Democrats totalled £606,724.

Declarations to the watchdog showed that public funding for the period came to just over £850,000 while the parties owed £14,634,772 between them in outstanding loans.

The most significant boost to Tory funds was a £204,850 donation from Peter Cruddas - received just days before he was forced to quit as a party co-treasurer over a cash-for-access expose.

Commission records show the sum, as well as £1,000 cash gift to the local party in Ipswich, was received on March 16, a week before the Sunday Times published the results of an undercover sting.

Mr Cruddas told reporters posing as business representatives that donors giving £250,000 a year could lobby Mr Cameron directly and have their views "fed in" to No 10.

It sparked a furious political row over lobbying and the influence of wealthy benefactors, forcing Mr Cameron to disclose details of dinners and other meetings with major donors.

Mr Cruddas is also listed as supplying auction prizes worth £6,906 and £2,487.90 in "sponsorship".

Labour noted that more than £560,000 of the Tory total came from wealthy individuals revealed in the wake of the Peter Cruddas furore to have attended private lunches, dinners or other occasions at 10 Downing Street or Chequers, the Prime Minister's country retreat

MP Simon Danczuk said: "It seems David Cameron's cosy dinners with millionaire donors helped the Tories rake in more than half a million in just three months.

"And not content with entertaining them at No 10 and Chequers, David Cameron and George Osborne gave tham a cut in the 50% rate of tax while millions are paying more."

Conservative Party co-chairman Baroness Warsi returned fire by noting that 74% of Labour's funding came from the trade unions.

"Ed Miliband's union paymasters are threatening strikes to ruin the Jubilee and the Olympics for hard-working people.

"The unions swung Ed Miliband's election as leader and even now Labour are still overwhelmingly reliant on the unions to keep the party afloat.

"Ed Miliband should stop being weak and condemn these strikes. He needs to stand up to his union bosses and defend hardworking people."

Labour noted that more than £560,000 of the Tory total came from wealthy individuals revealed in the wake of the Peter Cruddas furore to have attended private lunches, dinners or other occasions at 10 Downing Street or Chequers, the Prime Minister's country retreat

MP Simon Danczuk said: "It seems David Cameron's cosy dinners with millionaire donors helped the Tories rake in more than half a million in just three months.

"And not content with entertaining them at No 10 and Chequers, David Cameron and George Osborne gave tham a cut in the 50% rate of tax while millions are paying more."

Conservative Party co-chairman Baroness Warsi returned fire by noting that 74% of Labour's funding came from the trade unions.

"Ed Miliband's union paymasters are threatening strikes to ruin the Jubilee and the Olympics for hard-working people.

"The unions swung Ed Miliband's election as leader and even now Labour are still overwhelmingly reliant on the unions to keep the party afloat.

"Ed Miliband should stop being weak and condemn these strikes. He needs to stand up to his union bosses and defend hardworking people."

PA

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