November 28, 2019 / 3:14 PM / 8 days ago

Johnson's Conservatives break fundraising record, unions donate to Labour

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Chulmleigh College as he campaigns in Devon ahead of the upcoming general election, in Chulmleigh, Britain November 28, 2019. Dan Kitwood Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives smashed the record for the amount of money raised in the first fortnight of an election campaign on Thursday, while the unions turned on the taps to keep the opposition Labour Party in touch.

Official spending data from the Electoral Commission showed that in the first two weeks of a campaign that will determine Britain’s EU future, the Conservatives raised 8.6 million pounds compared with Labour’s 3.7 million pounds.

This is the second time this year Johnson has broken a record for political donations. Over the summer, he raised the most money by a British politician campaigning to lead their political party, underlining his popularity with donors.

Following the first week of the campaign when the Conservatives raised 26 times more in political donations than Labour, the main opposition party narrowed the funding gap by raising 3.5 million pounds, nearly all from unions.

The biggest came from the Unite union, which donated more than 3 million pounds, while the Communication Workers Union donated 425,000 pounds.

The Conservative money came from 61 different donors, including from hedge fund managers and the steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal.

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party raised 2.25 million pounds, with a 2 million pound donation coming from businessman Christopher Harborne.

Reporting by Kate Holton and Andrew MacAskill; editing by Stephen Addison

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