10 things you might not have known about party political funding over the last decade

by Stephen Tall on February 25, 2012

The Electoral Commission website is a data-mine of information for those interested in all aspects of party political funding.

For those who’d rather not get their hands dirty doing the mining themselves, below you’ll find 10 interesting (in my opinion) facts I discovered there.

But for those of you interested in excavating further, I’ve uploaded Google spreadsheets of the three main parties’ donations received between 2001 and 2011 (incl.):

And here are those 10 interesting facts I promised you…


In total, the Lib Dems raised £33,742,984 in donations from 2001-11. This compares with £173,742,956 for the Labour Party, and £182,418,146 for the Conservatives.


The Lib Dems received £19,906,609 (59% of total donations) from 373 gifts in excess of £10,000.


In comparison, the Conservatives received £149,834,472 (82%) from 2,632 gifts in excess of £10,000; and the Labour party £156,991,215 (90%) from 1,330 gifts in excess of £10,000.


£27,877,979 (83%) of the Lib Dem total was received from 4,325 individuals and 701 corporates by the Lib Dems.


In comparison, the Labour Party received £56,556,081 (32% of total donations) from 1,750 individuals and 1,041 corporates; while the Conservatives received £166,052,423 (91%) from 6,798 individuals and 2,938 corporates.


The Labour party received £110,087,436 (63% of total donations) from the trade unions between 2001-11. The Conservative party received £53,003,532 (29%) from corporates.


Michael Brown’s five donations (totalling £2.45m) via 5th Avenue Partners in March 2005 accounted for 7% of the party’s total donations in this period.


The single biggest gift, other than Michael Brown’s was £418,700, donated by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust in November 2006.


The biggest individual donor is Lord (David) Alliance, who’s given c.£695k, with Lord (Paul) Strasburger (c.£645k) not far behind.


The Lib Dems received a total of £15,859,758 from public funds. This compares with £14,048,629 for Labour (which was in government for most of this period), and £44,263,521 for the Tories.

NB: all figures are based on declarable donations counted by the Electoral Commission, the definition of which has changed has changed over the years, and which does not include all donations given to parties.

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.