Donations to holders of elected offices, members’ associations and members of registered parties reached over £3m over the last year, according to figures published by the Electoral Commission, the independent party funding watchdog.
In total, £3,035,525.91 was donated between 1 September 2014 - 31 August 2015, compared to £2,289,262,62 for the same period a year earlier, a 32 per cent increase.
Individuals provided a far larger amount than other entities, with companies donating the second largest amount, followed by trade unions.
And a huge percentage of those donations were given by the top ten donors, who gave almost £1.2m – or 41 per cent.
Lord Sainsbury gave a total of £519,014 – to Progress and Movement for Change.
Long-time Labour donors Barbara and Ken Follett, meanwhile, pledged their money to Yvette Cooper in her bid for Labour leader – as well as £10,000 to Labour Women’s Network. Peter Hearn also gave money to Cooper’s campaign, as well as Rushanara Ali, the Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow.
Many campaigning for top positions were among the top individual MPs to take money – including Tim Farron, the leader of the Liberal Democrats.
Interestingly, some of the candidates for the Labour London mayoral nomination took in more than the leadership hopefuls.