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Rich donors help Tories with £40k boost over Labour in Hampstead and Kilburn

Conservative donor Debbie Dove. Picture: Nigel Sutton. Conservative donor Debbie Dove. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Thursday, July 31, 2014
10:00 AM

The Conservative Party in Hampstead and Kilburn has banked almost £40,000 more in funding than its Labour rivals since the last general election – making the constituency one of the best-funded political battlegrounds in the country.

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Labour donor Lord Parry Mitchell of Hampstead. Picture: Nigel Sutton.Labour donor Lord Parry Mitchell of Hampstead. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Hampstead and Kilburn Conservatives have registered £52,500 in funding with the Electoral Commission since Tory candidate Chris Philp lost to Labour’s Glenda Jackson by just 42 votes on May 6, 2010.

The Labour Party in the constituency has received £14,000 in registered donations in the same period, with all of the money donated between January and February this year.

But the same constituency records do not exist for the Liberal Democrats in Hampstead and Kilburn, who are registered with the Electoral Commission as a Camden borough party.

Figures compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism indicate Hampstead and Kilburn is the third highest-funded constituency since the 2010 general election of the UK’s “tightest 20 marginal constituencies”.

"My campaign is based on values, policies, my personality and what I’m going to do for the area. This seat is not for sale"

Tulip Siddiq, Hampstead and Kilburn Labour candidate

Cllr Simon Marcus, Conservative candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn at next year’s general election, said: “We are a voluntary organisation and many voluntary organisations rely on donations.

“I’m delighted that people care and want to put their money where their mouth is. Every local party has to send out leaflets and election material and it all needs to be funded.

“British politics is not state-funded, I don’t think the taxpayer should be funding political parties.”

Since the last election, Tory coffers have benefited from two payments totalling £26,500 from Crescent Properties (Hampstead) Ltd, a holding company which channels funds accrued by the Tories’ former headquarters in College Crescent, Hampstead, which it now lets to The Phoenix School, University College School’s junior branch.

The party has received a further £26,000 in individual donations, including £5,000 from Hampstead property magnate Debbie Dove, formerly Debbie Fiorentino, and two £2,500 donations from the United and Cecil Club.

Natalie Chester, wife of hedge fund manager Lewis Chester, an Oxford University contemporary of David Cameron, donated £4,000 to Hampstead and Kilburn Conservatives in May 2010.

Hampstead and Kilburn Labour has received six separate donations since January, including £2,000 from life peer Lord Parry Mitchell of Hampstead and £4,000 from Mark Astaire, a senior Barclays investment banker.

Jonathan Levy, chairman of directors at Kilburn’s Tricycle Theatre, donated £2,000 to the party.

Labour’s parliamentary candidate Tulip Siddiq, who has also received a £2,000 donation from her husband Christian Percy, said: “I always knew the Tories were going to outspend us. They have a lot of money, it’s not a secret.

“They used to have Ashcroft’s millions and now they have a lot of donors. My campaign is based on values, policies, my personality and what I’m going to do for the area. This seat is not for sale.”

Electoral Commission records show Camden Liberal Democrats have raised £54,095 since the last general election, almost exclusively from donations made by Lib Dem Camden councillors.

Lib Dem councillors elected in Camden are obliged to donate a proportion of their annual council allowances to the local party.

Hampstead and Kilburn’s Lib Dem candidate Maajid Nawaz said: “We are confident about fundraising for the the election. Our campaign’s nationally-relevant themes of defending free expression and reengaging the generation of young voters disillusioned with politics are attracting good donor support.”

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