“The Conservative Party received hundreds of thousands from a woman with ties to the Russian president.
The Conservatives received almost £250,000 in donations last year from the wife of a former minister in Vladimir Putin’s government, new figures revealed. Lubov Chernukhin, whose ex-deputy finance minister husband Vladimir fell out with the Kremlin, is among the most generous donors to Tory coffers. She handed over £146,750 in November and December in addition to £100,000 earlier in the year.
The party also accepted £150,000 from Ann Said, whose Syrina-born husband, Wafic, is a former broker of arms deals with links to Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
The biggest gift to the Tories in the fourth quarter was £1.5 million from musical theatre producer John Gore, a regular donor to the party.
The Construction vehicle manufacturer JCB handed over £666,667, while the former Tory treasurer Michael Spencer’s IPGL donated £506,188.
The figures emerged in figures from the Electoral Commission covering the final three months of 2018.
Jon Trickett, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, said: “These figures reveal a party paid for by the rich and powerful, with apparent links to repressive regimes, tax avoiders and arms dealers.
“The influence of big money diminishes our democracy and reminds people that even if you have a vote, your voice will still be drowned out.”
A Conservative spokesperson said: “The Conservative Party does not accept foreign donations – as they are illegal. If a British citizen is able to vote in an election for a political party, they also have the democratic right to donate to a political party.
“All donations to the Conservative Party are received in good faith, after appropriate due diligence. Donations are properly and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission, published by them, and comply fully with the law.”
In the final quarter of 2018, the Conservatives received far more in donations than other parties, taking in almost £7.4m, more than four times the amount collected by Labour.
Jeremy Corbyn’s party took in £1.6m in donations during the three months, including a £490,300 gift from the Unite union.
Labour’s income from donations was outstripped by the £2,131,978 it received from public funds, much of it taxpayer-funded “Short money” to help opposition parties fund their work in the Commons.
The Liberal Democrats received £950,272 in donations and £249,937 from the public purse.
The Scottish National Party received £15,240 in gifts from three donors and £197,772 from public funds.
Greens took in £73,870 in donations and £27,611 from public funds, while Plaid Cymru had one donation of £10,722 and £24,928 in public funds. The UK Independence Party received just £13,000 in donations.
Over the course of 2018 Conservatives took donations totalling more than £21m, compared with less than £7m for Labour and £2.8m for the Lib Dems.