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6 December 2022

Labour adds £5m to its election war chest

The party’s “prawn cocktail offensive” seems to be getting results.

By Rachel Wearmouth

Labour has had a major boost to its general election war chest, raising £4.7m in the third quarter of 2022.

Figures published by the Electoral Commission this morning show that, even excluding trade union contributions, Keir Starmer‘s party received more in donations than the Conservatives: £3.08m to the Tories’ £2.97m. The Lib Dems took £1.6m.

This seems to show the success of Labour’s “prawn cocktail offensive”, in which frontbenchers such as Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, and Jonathan Reynolds, shadow business secretary, have been wooing companies and their leaders. The average donation to Labour, taking out trade union funding, was £49,006, compared with the Conservatives’ £15,580. Donors included Gareth Quarry, a businessman who has previously given money to the Conservatives, and Fran Perrin, the daughter of Lord Sainsbury, who severed ties with the party under Jeremy Corbyn.

A Labour spokeswoman said: “Donors are coming back to Labour because they can see we are a changed party that is serious about getting into government and building a fairer, greener, more dynamic Britain. We are very grateful for all support, large or small, as we gear up to fight the next general election.”

It is expected that donations will rise further in the fourth quarter.

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The New Statesman reported last month that Waheed Alli, the Tony Blair-era aide and media entrepreneur, has been drafted in to lead the party’s fundraising drive ahead of a general election. Alli, the founder of Silvergate Media and the co-creator of the reality TV programme Survivor, is leading an expansion of the “Rose Network” fundraising drive, with the money raised to be devoted to campaigning and hiring.

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[See also: Growth through devolution will be Labour’s election pitch

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