UK Politics

Unite still Labour's largest backer despite Falkirk row

Houses of Parliament
Image caption Political parties have to disclose national donations of more than £7,500

The Unite union remains Labour's largest financial backer, new figures show, despite the fall-out from the Falkirk candidate selection row.

According to the Electoral Commission, the UK's largest union gave £777,740 in the three months to September.

Fellow unions Usdaw, Unison and GMB were other major backers as Labour secured £3.15m in total donations.

The Conservatives raised £3.27m, as businessmen John Griffin, James Lupton and Michael Farmer gave large sums.

Political parties have to declare all national donations in excess of £7,500.

Labour has been involved in a bruising dispute with Unite over the selection of a general election candidate in Falkirk, amid claims of alleged vote-rigging in the contest - which the union disputes.

An internal Labour investigation into the conduct of Unite officials was brought to an end without further action, and they were re-instated as members of the party, after key evidence was withdrawn.

The episode led to Ed Miliband proposing reforms of union affiliation fees paid to Labour through the political levy.

Unite's donation to Labour was the single largest to any political party during the latest three month period. Labour secured 122 donations in total, with Usdaw, Unison and GMB giving £618,849, £372,603 and £297,698 respectively.

The Conservatives received 220 donations in total. John Griffin, the founder of the Addison Lee private hire taxi firm, gave £500,000 while City financiers Michael Farmer and James Lupton gave £250,000 each

The Lib Dems' largest donation - of £167,667 - came from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. In total, the party pulled in £798,408 from 161 individual donations.

UKIP and SNP received £113,326 and £15,000 in total donations respectively while the BNP and the Green Party received £68,695 and £21,434 respectively.

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