Labour receives £2m boost

Labour’s election war chest has received a multi-million pound boost, with a substantial donation from Lord Sainsbury.

The long-standing Labour supporter has donated £2 million to the party, explaining he was “very impressed” with the new prime minister.

The donation will go someway to helping Labour restore its depleted funds, which had been seen by many commentators as a major barrier to Gordon Brown calling an early general election.

Lord Sainsbury said: “I have today made a donation of £2 million to the Labour Party because I believe that Labour is the only party which is committed to delivering both social justice and economic prosperity.

“This is why I joined the party in the 1960s and why I continue to support it today.”

He continued: “I have been very impressed by the start that Gordon Brown has made as Prime Minister, and want to help ensure that he is able to continue the progress that has been made in recent years in delivering prosperity for all.”

Lord Sainsbury has now donated more than £16 million to Labour, having first funded the party while it was still in opposition.

Peter Watt, Labour Party general secretary, said today: “I would like to thank Lord Sainsbury for his long standing and unstinting support for the Labour Party and our goals of combining social justice with economic prosperity for everyone.

“We are grateful to all those that contribute to the party in support of our values, and greatly appreciate this very generous donation.”

The peer previously loaned the party £2 million to fund the 2005 election, which led to him being questioned as a witness during the cash-for-honours investigation.

Tony Blair made Lord Sainsbury a life peer in 1997 and he became a science minister the following year.

Lord Sainsbury resigned from the government last year after being questioned by police. However, he denies this prompted his resignation, having always intended to leave government after three or four years.

Born David Sainsbury, he became a multi-millionaire in his twenties when he inherited a share of the Sainsbury’s supermarket chain. He has since been a noted philanthropist.