David Cameron’s party received £1.36m, while Ed Miliband’s campaign gained £131,242, according to the final list of contributions released by the Electoral Commission.
The donors appear to confirm the Tories’ status as the favourite party of the wealthy. Among the backers are hedge fund managers, property tycoons and a multimillion-pound firm which has been criticised for not paying corporation tax.
The Conservatives received their biggest donation of £250,000 from Addison Lee’s founder, John Griffin, whose firm has come to dominate the luxury minicab market. He has previously given £1m to the party under Cameron.
The Tories also received £124,450 from Lycamobile UK, a low-cost telecoms operator which has courted controversy because it has not paid corporation tax in Britain since 2007, despite generating millions in revenue. Since 2011, the firm has given more than £1m to the Tories.
At the Tories’ Black and White Fundraiser, the firm’s founder, Subaskaran Allirajah, bought a statue of Margaret Thatcher for £210,000 and his ministerial guest was David Gauke, the minister responsible for closing the tax gap. Lycamobile says its past losses have covered any money it might owe and its profits are ploughed back into the group.
Other donors include Javad Marandi, a construction tycoon who originates from Azerbaijan, who gave £50,000, according to the new figures.
Fitriani Hay, who co-owns the JMH Group property development firm, gave £200,000. Her racehorse-owning husband, James, has previously given £231,200.
Another £125,000 was given to Cameron’s campaign from property developer Anthony Gallagher’s Countrywide Developments firm. The Guardian disclosed on Monday that another of his firms, Gallagher Estates, is in dispute with local councillors over a development to build 1,500 homes near Cambridge.
A property firm specialising in high-end homes, Marcus Cooper Property Consulting Ltd, has donated £100,000 to the Tories, the new figures show. It was the developer behind one of Britain’s most expensive homes, a Regent’s Park mansion.
Lev Mikheev, a Russian hedge fund manager, donated £10,000 in the final week of the campaign.
Last week, the Tories were forced to return £90,000 they received from Stanley Tollman, a convicted tax fraudster, and his wife, Beatrice. A spokesman for the Tollmans told the Independent that Beatrice was of good character and her husband had pleaded guilty to ensure the peace and tranquility of the family.
Labour’s biggest donor last week was Lord Haughey, who founded and jointly owns City Refrigeration. He gave £38,000, according to official figures.
Over the four full weeks of campaigning, Labour secured the most financial backing, receiving £4,658,499 – most of which came from unions – while the Conservatives were given £3,456,017.
In the final week, the Liberal Democrats raised £89,000, Ukip £7,896 and the Green Party £10,000, the watchdog said.
Over the entire “short” campaign, Ukip took in £1,614,312 and the Liberal Democrats £234,000.
This article was written by Rajeev Syal, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 5th May 2015 20.00 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010