Donations to Theresa May's Conservatives were more than double the sum handed to Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party in early 2017

 
Mark Sands
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The Conservatives were leading the early running in fundraising before Prime Minister Theresa May's snap election, taking in more than double the sums handed to Labour.

All national campaigning has been suspended in light of last night's attack in Manchester, but figures released by the Electoral Commission today show the totals donated to each party in the first quarter of 2017.

For the three months to 31 March, before May called the General Election on 18 April, the Conservatives took in £5.5m in donations, compared to £2.6m donated to Labour.

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Donations to Labour were led by unions including Unite, Unison, GMB and USDAW, as well as the former racing boss Max Mosley, who each handed over more than £300,000 to Jeremy Corbyn's party.

The Conservatives' largest donor was former Xstrata chief Michael Davis, who gave the Tories £317,000.

Sums taken in by the UK's two largest parties dwarfed donations to other groups, with the Lib Dems raising just over £600,000, nine times less than the Tories.

Ukip received just £246,910 for the quarterly period, although donations to all sides will likely have increased since the election was confirmed.

The quarter saw over £1.6m more in donations than the fourth quarter of 2016, but still around £2.5m less compared to the same quarter in 2016, in the run up to last year's Brexit referendum.

Last week, the Electoral Commission revealed figures for the first week of election campaigning. Those figures showed the Tories had taken £4.1m from their major donors, with Addison Lee founder John Griffin giving nearly £1m to the party.

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