UK

Tory Donors Spent Nearly £25m To Lose 13 Seats At The Election

That's £2m on every MP lost.

24/08/2017 19:06 BST

Conservative Party donors spent almost £25 million in the run-up to this year’s general election that saw Theresa May lose 13 MPs.

The sum handed to the Tories was more than double the £9.5 million that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party was given, the Electoral Commission said.

The snap general election was effectively called to strengthen the Conservative majority, with expectations of a landslide and some polls suggesting May had a 20-point lead ahead of the vote.

In the end, it saw its total number of seats reduced from the 331 it won in 2015 to 318. It breaks down to roughly £2m spent by donors for every MP the party lost.

In total, political parties received a record £40.1 million in donations in the three months from April to June, according to new figures.

The total was £9.4 million more than the previous highest quarter on record, which coincided with the 2015 general election.

The Conservatives’ largest donor was construction vehicle manufacturer JCB, which gave £1.5 million. Mark Bamford, the brother of JCB’s chairman Lord Bamford, also gave £750,000.

Former Tory treasurer Lord Ashcroft contributed £500,000 to the election war-chest - his first donation to the party since a gift from his Bearwood company in 2011.

Hedge fund manager John Armitage gave Mrs May’s party £1.1 million and Addison Lee founder John Griffin £1.033 million - the largest gifts yet given by the two long-standing Tory donors.

John Gore, the theatre producer behind The Book Of Mormon and Phantom Of The Opera, gave the Tories £1 million, entrepreneur David Brownlow gave £600,000.

PA Wire/PA Images
Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during a General Election campaign visit to Grand station in Wolverhampton in the West Midlands.

In total, Conservatives received £24,840,627 over the three-month period, Labour £9,492,519, Liberal Democrats £4,358,410 and the Scottish National Party £596,000.

Ukip, which was boosted by a £1 million donation from Arron Banks ahead of the 2015 election, was less well-funded in 2017, receiving just £156,455 in the second quarter of the year.

This was less than the £282,931 donations to the Women’s Equality Party and the £176,363 received by the Greens. Plaid Cymru had donations of just £5,300.

The £40 million total was more than £30 million higher than the amounts received during the first three months of 2017, reflecting the short period parties had to build up their election war-chests as a result of Theresa May’s surprise decision to call a snap poll on April 18.

The biggest donor during the three-month period was the trade union Unite, which gave £4,165,935 to Labour.

Jeremy Corbyn’s party also benefited from gifts of £1,253,711 from the GMB union, £1,039,794 from the Communication Workers Union, £922,586 from Unison, and £411,340 from Usdaw.

The Liberal Democrats’ largest single donor in the three-month period was entrepreneur Andrew Dixon, who gave the party £305,100.

Electoral Commission director of political finance and regulation Bob Posner said: “The snap general election prompted political parties to raise record-breaking sums in the second quarter of 2017.

“The reporting and publication of this data is key to providing voters with transparency about how political parties financed their general election campaigns.”