John Griffin, founder of Addison Lee, has given the Tories £500,000. Photograph: Felix Clay for the Guardian
The Conservatives have received double the donations of Labour and 60 times more than Ukip over the past three months, including more than £1m from hedge funds and £150,000 from the wife of a former Russian government minister who bought the right to play tennis with David Cameron and Boris Johnson.

According to figures from the Electoral Commission, the Conservatives received a total of £6.8m between July and September, much of it from people connected to the world of finance. In the same period, Labour brought in £3.2m, of which £1.3m was from trade unions.

In third place were the Liberal Democrats whose total of £2.7m was hugely boosted by a legacy donation from a late academic, George Watson, a former Lib Dem candidate and professor at Cambridge University, who died last year at the age of 86.

Ukip brought in £98,000 during the quarter. It has since been given £1m by Arron Banks, a former Tory donor.

The Tories received more than £300,000 from Lord Farmer, a businessman and co-treasurer of the party who was awarded a peerage in August. It takes Farmer’s total donations to the party to more than £1m over the last year. John Griffin, founder of the minicab firm Addison Lee, gave the party £500,000.

The figures are a sign that the Conservatives will have much greater financial firepower in the run-up to next year’s election, allowing them to bombard voters with mailshots in a way that other parties may not be able to afford.

Labour said the Tories had taken more than £50m from hedge funds since coming to power, including £1.34m in this quarter. The party pointed out that hedge funds were given a tax cut worth £145m last year.

Almost £3m of donations in the quarter came from donors who have attended exclusive private dinners with David Cameron and other senior ministers.

It is not yet clear whether Cameron and Johnson have pla- tennis with donors, after Lubov Chernukhin, the wife of former minister Vladimir Chernukhin, successfully bid for the right to a match with the pair. However, records from the Electoral Commission show she handed over £150,000 a week after the exclusive summer fundraising event in July.

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow cabinet office minister, said the figures showed the Conservative election campaign would be “funded by those who dine exclusively at the prime minister’s top table and a select few in the hedge fund industry”.

He said: “David Cameron’s hedge fund backers and millionaires have been given tax breaks while hard-working families are struggling to make ends meet. The Tories are standing up for those at the top at the expense of working people across the country.

“Whether putting private profit before patient care in the NHS or siding with the energy industry over consumers struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, David Cameron stands up for the wrong people.”

By Rowena Mason, The Guardian

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