UK & World News
Coalition Gets £520k From Mysterious Donor
A mysterious donor left more than £500,000 to the Tories and Lib Dems in her will after pledging the sum to "whoever is in government".
The bequest of £520,000 in total made Ms Joan L B Edwards the biggest individual donor to both parties between April and June.
Her inclusion in the latest donations list sparked intrigue among pundits who wondered whether she had been won over by the coalition's record.
But it is understood the shared donation came about because she had specified the money should go to "whoever was the party of government of the day".
After some initial confusion about how to proceed given the Tories and Lib Dems currently share power, it was decided to divide the money.
The sum was split based on each party's number of ministers and MPs, with the Tories pocketing £420,576 and the Lib Dems £99,423.
No other details about Ms Edwards are currently known, although reports indicate she was not active politically during her lifetime.
The latest figures from the Electoral Commission also lay bare Labour's continued reliance on trade unions.
Unions handed more than £2.4m to the party in the second quarter of the year. Unite was the biggest donor, contributing £772,195. The GMB gave £485,830 and Unison £458,080.
The data shows the challenge facing leader Ed Miliband, who has pledged to reform Labour's union ties following allegations of ballot fixing in Falkirk.
In total, Labour received less than the Tories - on £3,136,447 compared to the Conservatives on £4,116,006.
The largest gifts to the Conservatives were £280,770 and £263,600 respectively from party co-treasurers Michael Farmer and James Lupton.
The Lib Dems raised £801,448 from donations over the three months, down from £842,710 in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) was buoyed by its receipts more than doubling to £160,000.
Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps said: "Despite Ed Miliband's promise of change, these independent figures prove his Labour Party is still dominated by the trade unions.
"They choose the candidates, pick the leader and remain Labour's biggest donors - providing three quarters of the Party's money."
Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan hit back: "The Tories have raked in over £1m from private dinners with David Cameron and senior ministers in the last quarter.
"More than two thirds of that comes from the City - the bankers and hedge fund bosses whose taxes David Cameron cut.
"Hardworking families are seeing their living standards squeezed, with prices rising faster than wages.
"Meanwhile, David Cameron shows how out of touch he is, standing up for the millionaires who fund his party."