Bizarre bequest results in funding boost for coalition

Eyebrows were raised this morning when it was revealed that the top individual donor to political parties in the second quarter of the year was one "Ms Joan L B Edwards" who gave the Conservatives £420,576 and the Lib Dems £99,423.

Ms Edwards has not shown any particular interest in politics in the past so onlookers immediately wondered whether she was spurred into action by the coalition's success.

But City A.M. can reveal that it is actually the result of a bizarre bequest. Ms Edwards recently died and a mole says the money was left "to whoever was the party of government of the day".

The coalition complicated matters but it was 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.

So had she passed away while Labour were in power, they would have received the full £519,999.

This comes as it is reported that eleven political parties in the UK have reported accepting £8,529,619 in donations in the period 1 April and 30 June 2013 – an increase of more than eight per cent on the same period the year before.

The Unite trade union was the biggest donor overall, giving £772,195 to the Labour party. GMB, Unison, Union of Shop and the Communication Workers Union gave Labour a respective £485,830, £458,080, £411,137, £143,121.

Other big individual donors include Tory co-treasurer and former Barings banker James Lupton and City financier Michael Farmer, who gave the Conservatives £263,600 and £280,770 respectively.

The Tories received some £4.49m from donors in the quarter, 8.2 per cent (£369,473) of which came from public funds. The Labour party accepted the second largest amount at £5.39m, 41 per cent (£2.2m) of which came from public funds. The Lib Dems accepted £801,000, 44 per cent (£351,656) of which came from public funds.

But perhaps most telling is the increase in financial support went to the UK Independence Party, whose donations doubled to £160,289.