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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 August 2007, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Labour gets most cash from donors
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Twenty parties received 14m in donations between April and June
Donations to the Labour Party continue to outstrip those to the Conservatives, according to Electoral Commission figures for April to June.

The Conservatives received individual donations of 4.6m - below Labour's 5m - but also got 1.7m of public money for policy development.

Labour was in debt by 20.2m as of 30 June, with the Conservatives borrowing 16.3m, and Liberal Democrats 1m.

In total 20 parties got 14m donations bringing the year's tally to 25m.

Labour, which does not receive public money because it is in government, was given slightly more from donors compared with the previous quarter, when it received 4.99m.

'Challenging' finances

Significant donations came from Iranian millionaire Mahmoud Khayami, who gave 500,000, and Muslim Friends of Labour gave 300,000.

The party also received 250,000 each from millionaire Jon Aisbitt, financier Ronald Cohen, a friend and confidant of prime minister Gordon Brown, and Nigel Doughty.

A Labour spokesman said: "Our finances remain in a challenging position but the upturn of recent months continues to be reflected in the figures from the Electoral Commission.

"Donations to the end of June 2007 show an increase of 3.6 million on the same stage in 2006."

'General election'

The Conservatives' biggest donors were Edinburgh grain merchants Philip Wilson (Grain) Ltd, who gave 300,000, followed by 287,898 from Harris Ventures Ltd, whose chairman is the Conservative peer and businessman Lord Harris of Peckham, and 250,000 from developers Gallagher UK Ltd.

Party chairman Caroline Spelman said: "Under David Cameron the Conservative Party is widening its support at base and raising more funds from a broader number of donors.

"We are more than ready to fight a general election."

Debts

The Liberal Democrats received 1.3m in donations, which included at least 500,000 from public funds.

The UK Independence Party received 84,400, and the Scottish National Party got 623,600.

Peter Facey, director of campaign group Unlock Democracy, said: "It is clear that the major parties are struggling to pay of their debts.

"In 2004, roughly 75% of major donations went to central Labour and Conservative coffers.

"Over the past 12 months, this proportion has increased to 90%.

"This centralisation of party politics can only lead to even less activity at a grassroots level."


SEE ALSO
Labour tops political donations
22 May 07 |  UK Politics

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