POLITICAL party funding figures rarely reveal much beyond Labour’s continued reliance on trade union subsidies and the Conservatives’ enduring popularity with successful businessmen.
But yesterday’s official register contained a real mystery: the single biggest individual donor to British political parties in the last three months was a lady identified only as “Ms Joan L B Edwards”, who gave a whopping £519,999.
Even more unusually she has never previously made an appearance in public life and seemed to be an enormous fan of the coalition government – giving money to both the Lib Dems and the Conservatives.
The Capitalist got digging and uncovered a truly strange series of events. A mole said that Ms Edwards was a recently deceased lady whose will stipulated that her entire estate should go “to whoever is the party of government of the day”.
The coalition complicated matters but it was eventually agreed that the donation would be split between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives based on the number of MPs and cabinet ministers they both have.
As a result the Tories took £420,576 and the junior coalition partner nabbed £99,423.
Although Edwards must have thought highly of Britain’s party system it’s less clear where her own party allegiances stood – had she died prior to the May 2010 general election then Labour, currently facing a cash crisis, could have received the full amount.