The Conservatives raised three times as much as Labor in the last quarter boosted by £10m from the will of supermarket tycoon John Sainsbury, showing they are on course to benefit from the No’s decision. 10 to raise election spending limits.
The Tories brought in £15.8m in total for its election war chest in the three months to September, while Labor got £3.1m in private donations from individuals and trade unions as well as taking £2.5m in public funds.
Other major Conservative donors during the quarter were Graham Edwards, the party treasurer and a property boss, who gave £2m in “administration services”, and Malik Karim, a former treasurer, who donated £250,000.
The party also received £250,000 from Flowidea Ltd, owned by Swiss-born banker Sir Henry Angest, and £125,000 from Global Education Holdings, owned by Indian executive Vishwajeet Rana.
A further £70,000 was contributed by the Tories to a company called nChain, a provider of the blockchain technology behind cryptocurrencies. The company is partly owned by Calvin Ayre, a gambling and bitcoin multimillionaire who used to run from the US authorities, and built hotels in Antigua where he was a special economic envoy.
In 2017, Ayre pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in the US, ending a five-year criminal case in which federal prosecutors dropped felony charges against Ayre and the company he founded, Bodog Entertainment Group.
Labor managed to raise £3.1m in the third quarter of this year, bringing total donations to £15m for 2023. The party also received £6.8m in public funding.
Former Autoglass boss Gary Lubner was the party’s biggest donor giving £687,500, taking his contribution this year to £3m. He has pledged to donate £5m to the party before the next election.
The party also received £250,000 from former international poker player Derek Webb, who is part of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, which set up a £40,000 donation in March, and £100,000 from financier and former Goldman Sachs banker David Blood.
Labor has significantly increased donations from private individuals under Keir Starmer after they fell following the New Labor years. It has reached more than £10m since the start of the year, making it the most successful fundraising year outside of a general election.
The Conservatives quietly raised spending limits for last year’s general election from £19m to £34m a year ago – meaning the parties are engaged in a race to raise and spend more than ever in the 2024 competition.
So far, the Tories have raised more money, with £10m from Sainsbury’s, £5m from former Egyptian government minister Mohamed Mansour, £5m from healthcare boss Frank Hester, and £4.5m from Edwards.
The Liberal Democrats raised £2.4m in the third quarter of 2023, including a £100,000 donation from former aircraft parts supplier Stephen Gosling, taking its total for the year to £6m.