A Labour peer and former chairman of Sainsbury’s has emerged as one of the biggest loser of the EU referendum campaign after spending nearly £8million trying to avert Brexit.
Electoral Commission records revealed that Lord Sainsbury, who served as a science minister under Tony Blair, donated £4million to the official In campaign and £2million to both Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
Lord Sainsbury, who is currently on leave of absence from the House of Lords, donated more than £4.2m to nine different Remain groups, under four different aliases.
The heir to the Sainsbury’s supermarket fortune was made a peer by Mr Blair in 1997 and is one of the Labour party’s biggest individual donors.
In a statement he said: During the last two years I have helped put together the Stronger In Europe Campaign, and have provided them with funds.
I have also made donations to the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, and a number of other registered bodies.
“I did so because I believe strongly that coming out of Europe will be damaging to our economy and society, and dangerously so if we come out of the Common Market.
“I am proud of what the Stronger In Europe Campaign did in explaining honestly and clearly the benefits we get from being in Europe and the damage from coming out.
“I am sorry that we failed to convince the British people as I believe the dangers of Brexit are very real, and I hope that thoughtful and careful leadership by the new Prime Minister will mean that my worst fears are not realised.
Before the Referendum campaign the supermarket mogul was one of a number of major donors who stopped donating to the party when Jeremy Corbyn was elected Leader.
A Lib Dem spokesman said his donation was a “recognition” that the party had the second largest political campaign for Remain and was a “testimony” to the hard work of their members.
They added: “We have enormous respect for Lord Sainsbury and we see his help in the referendum campaign as a huge endorsement of this party’s campaigning strength and our unequivocally pro-European ideals.”
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