The Tories’ biggest donor in the general election campaign so far is a billionaire who is registered as living in the Bahamas.
Boris Johnson ’s party banked £5.7million in donations of £7,500 or more in the week from November 6 to 12 – 26 times more than Labour .
And theatre boss John Gore was the biggest single benefactor, handing over £1million to bring his total contribution to the Tories to £4.8million since 2017.
Mr Gore joined the Sunday Times Rich List this year, with a personal fortune of £1.5billion, made from producing musicals such as Wicked and Chicago.
He said earlier this year: “I have chosen to stick my head into the mad world of politics when it is at its maddest. I am a British citizen with an outside eye.
“It’s not unlike being a director. I can see this show is going wrong – that it’s going to crash. I hope I can do something to get it into shape and help it flourish.”
Mr Gore, 57, was born in Southport, Merseyside, and is registered as a director of two firms at Companies House, giving his nationality as “English” and his country of residence as “Bahamas”.
The Caribbean island is infamous for being a tax haven. There is no income tax, no corporation tax, no capital gains tax and no wealth tax.
But Mr Gore told the Mirror: “I am employed by a US company so that’s where I pay my tax. A big amount. That is where I am tax resident.”
Asked why Companies House records state his country of residence is the Bahamas, Mr Gore said: “I have looked into that and I think it is because they needed an address.”
The next three largest Tory donors were travel firm Trailfinders, Countrywide Developers and WA Capital, who each gave £500,000.
The party also received £200,000 from Lubov Chernukhin, the wife of a former Russian minister. In the past she paid £160,000 to play tennis with Boris Johnson.
Of the £7.1million of donations made to all parties revealed by the Electoral Commission yesterday, 87% went to the Conservatives.
Labour Chairman Ian Lavery said: “While the Conservative Party is in the pockets of vested interests and the super-rich, we are proud that the Labour Party is funded by hundreds of thousands of people donating what they can afford to build a fairer society.”
Labour declared £218,500 in donations of £7,500 or more in the same period, just 3% of the total. Both the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit Party received more.
Labour’s left-wing campaigning arm, Momentum, said it had raised over £450,000 from small donations.
At the end of 2018, the Tories posted a first deficit in eight years and were in a worse financial position than Labour, according to accounts in August.
However, the party raised more than Labour earlier this year as it became apparent an election was looming.
A party spokesperson said: “The Conservative Party is funded by membership, fundraising and donations, including over 600 local associations across the country.
“The Electoral Commission figures exclude the significant sums we have received from small donations.”