Sir Elton and David donate £20k to Liberal Democrats

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Pop legend Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish are among a list of donors to the Liberal Democrats published yesterday by the Electoral Commission.

The party raised just under £600,000 overall in the third quarter of 2008.

Sir Elton and Mr Furnish donated £10,495 each.

The gay couple backed Brian Paddick, the Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of London, earlier in the year.

He came third in the May election, which was won by Conservative Boris Johnson.

16 political parties reported donations totalling £13,545,577 (excluding public funds) accepted between July 1st and September 30th to the Electoral Commission.

Labour was out in front with £5m overall, including a £1m donation from Harry Potter author JK Rowling and £7,500 from former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has earned more than £12m since leaving Downing St last year.

Former spin doctor Alastair Campbell gave £12,500 and former ministers David Blunkett and Stephen Byers also donated to party coffers.

The party also converted £2.25m of loans into donations.

Labour is millions of pounds in debt, much it from the 2005 election, the most expensive Labour ever fought.

Peter Watt resigned as general secretary in November 2007 in the wake of the Abrahams scandal after claiming he did not know that third-party donations are illegal.

The party was emboiled in a “cash for honours” scandal after the Prime Minister admitted that £600,000 of donations from controversial businessman David Abrahams were not “lawfully declared.” The party returned the money.

Mr Abrahams used four associates to donate money to the Labour over four years. Giving money under someone else’s name is unlawful.

“As our recent accounts show, much has already been done to improve the Labour Party’s finances,” said general secretary Ray Collins.

“We will continue working to ensure the party’s financial position remains sustainable.”

One of the contenders for the Labour deputy leadership, Peter Hain, resigned from the government in January after the Electoral Commission asked the police to investigate his failure to declare more than £100,000 in donations to his campaign.

Harriet Harman, who won the deputy leadership in June 2007, escaped police investigation over a proxy loan to her campaign from Mr Abrahams.

The Electoral Commission decided in April that the £5,000 donation to Ms Harman’s campaign was not reported properly, but had been returned in keeping with the rules.

Mr Hain has maintained that poor administration was the reason that 17 loans to his campaign to become Deputy Leader of the Labour party were not declared properly.

The Electoral Commission was made aware of the donations four months after the contest was over, which is against the law.

The Tories raised just over £4m between July and Septmber – for the past ten quarters the Conservatives have led Labour in fundraising.

Among the smaller parties, the Christian Peoples Alliance got £3,255 in donations, while UKIP, who are defending 12 European Parliament seats in June 2009, only managed to raise £33,663.

The CPA are best-known for their failed 2006 campaign to force a religious opt-out to the Sexual Orientation Regulations, which protect gay, lesbian and bisexual people against discrimination in the provision of goods, services and facilites.

It became law last year.

Six parties received £2,042,480 in public funds.

The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party received a total of £1,636,865 in Short money, which is paid directly by the UK Parliament to opposition parties in the House of Commons.

The Conservatives, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and Scottish Green Party received £135,513 in assistance paid directly to opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats also received a total of £92,850 in Cranborne money which is for opposition parties in the House of Lords.

The Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru  and the Scottish National Party received a total of £177,253 in Policy Development Grants which are allocated according to a formula approved by the UK Parliament and paid by the Electoral Commission.