Laurence Fox’s Reclaim occasion acquired nearly as a lot cash in donations because the Liberal Democrats within the first quarter of 2021, all of it coming from a Brexit-supporting funding supervisor.
The actor, activist and lockdown sceptic, who completed sixth in final month’s London mayoral elections, acquired £1,153,300 in donations, the Electoral Fee mentioned, just under the Lib Dems’ £1,278,073.
The figures additionally present the Conservatives acquired £510,000 in its greatest single donation from a businessman to whom Boris Johnson awarded a peerage after rejecting recommendation from the Home of Lords appointments fee.
The donation got here from Peter Cruddas, an everyday Tory donor who was made a peer in December regardless of the fee’s recommendation.
Cruddas resigned as a Conservative co-treasurer in 2012 after the Sunday Instances claimed he was providing entry to the prime minister for donations to the occasion of as much as £250,000. A yr later Cruddas gained £180,000 in damages in a libel action, though that was subsequently decreased to £50,000 after elements of the unique allegations had been upheld when the paper appealed.
The Electoral Commission statistics present that each one of Fox’s donations got here from Jeremy Hosking, making him the largest single political donor for the quarter.
Hosking is a multimillionaire fund supervisor, Brexit supporter and steam prepare fanatic. He was identified to be a supporter of Fox, with some earlier stories claiming he had bankrolled the actor’s occasion with as much as £5m in funding.
When he launched the party in September final yr, Fox claimed he had £5m in donations. Prompted by an look on BBC One’s Query Time wherein he railed towards accusations of racism within the therapy by the media of the Duchess of Sussex, Fox reinvented himself as a critic of “woke” tradition, initially by way of Twitter.
At one level Fox criticised the portrayal of a Sikh soldier within the first world warfare movie 1917, however apologised after others identified the contribution of about 130,000 Sikhs within the British military throughout the warfare.
He described Reclaim as in search of to take again British values from politicians, who he mentioned had “misplaced contact with the individuals”. Within the London mayoral race, regardless of appreciable media protection, Fox took slightly below 48,000 first-choice votes, figuring out at about £25 in donations for each vote secured.
The Electoral Fee statistics present the Conservatives had been by far the largest recipients of donations, totalling slightly below £6.5m over the quarter. Labour secured £2.44m, with the Unison union the main contributor.
Reform UK, the renamed Brexit occasion, now with out its former chief Nigel Farage, attracted slightly below £122,000 in donations. It didn’t stand within the London mayoral elections, and in native elections throughout England on the identical day it gained solely two council seats.
Final month the ultimate Electoral Fee statistics for the 2019 basic election confirmed the Liberal Democrats spent greater than Labour – £14.4m towards £12m. The Lib Dems acquired massive sums from remain-minded donors eager to spice up their anti-Brexit campaigns.