SENIOR Labour MPs have received more than a quarter of a million pounds in donations from a secretive firm amid a renewed focus on Westminster funding.

A firm called MPM Connect has made donations worth a total of £345,217 to three Labour politicians since the end of 2019, according to data compiled by Sky News and Tortoise.

The Westminster Accounts data journalism project from the two outlets has reignited interest in how politicians in the UK are funded.

The National:

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper (above, second from right) received £184,317 from MPM Connect, while Barnsley MP Dan Jarvis received £100,000 from the firm and shadow health secretary Wes Streeting was gifted £60,900, Sky News reports.

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The broadcaster said none of the three would provide on-the-record comment and The National has approached each for further comment.

MPM Connect is the third-biggest donor to MPs, after the trade unions Unite and GMB, since 2019.

It has no staff, according to its most recent filings and is registered at an office building at the end of a residential street in Hertfordshire.

Sky News reported attempts to contact the company's directors, Peter Hearn and Simon Murphy, for comment at the office were fruitless and that a receptionist said she had never heard of the company when questioned.

The broadcaster reported Hearn had donated significant sums to the Labour Party as well as a £10,000 donation to the Tories ahead of the 2010 election.

He also reportedly spent £100,000 in Cooper’s unsuccessful Labour leadership campaign in 2015 as well as gifting cash to Jarvis in an attempt to oust Jeremy Corbyn as leader.

In a statement, Jarvis said: “The money generously donated during this Parliament has been used to support the running of my offices in Barnsley and Westminster.

"It helps to provide a better service to my constituents and supports campaign activity.

"All donations received are fully registered with House of Commons authorities, in accordance with the rules, and are published on a regular basis.

“Details regarding MPM Connect, an investment company in the employment sector and its director Peter Hearn, a UK businessman and very long-standing Labour supporter, are available on Companies House.

"The address listed is that of MPM Connect’s accountants, as is common practice.”

Meanwhile, the Tories have reportedly received £138,000 in campaign funding from a firm called IX Wireless, a broadband provider based in Blackburn.

Responding to the revelations Rishi Sunak said he welcomed “transparency” around the funding of MPs.

He said: “I think transparency is really important for the healthy functioning of democracy, it’s absolutely right that there’s disclosures around donations and outside interests.

“Transparency is a good thing and I fully support it.”

Top earners 

The Westminster Accounts cover the period since the 2019 general election and show former prime minister Theresa May (below) is the highest-earning MP, receiving £2.8 million in payments and gifts.

The National: Prime Minister Theresa May holds a news conference after the European Council in Brussels where European Union leaders met to discuss Brexit. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 11, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit

Most of this income relates to May’s speaking engagements, which her entry in the MPs’ Register of Interests states are paid to the Office of Theresa May Ltd and used to pay for staff and charitable work.

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The register also states May receives £85,000 per year from her private office.

Second on the list of highest-earning MPs is former attorney general Sir Geoffrey Cox, who has received £2.1 million in outside earnings and gifts since 2019.

Cox was criticised in 2021 for using a proxy to vote in the House of Commons while he was working on a public inquiry in the British Virgin Islands.

Former prime minister Boris Johnson is third on the list, having received £1.2m since December 2019, including more than £1m in speaker’s fees since he left Downing Street in September 2022.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has also welcomed the publication of the Westminster Accounts, telling Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: “Transparency is a good thing.”

He added: “I think we’ve got some of the strongest rules in terms of what we have to declare, but the more transparency the better, so that everybody can see exactly what has been declared and ask whatever questions they want to about it.”

Transparency campaign group Spotlight on Corruption described the Westminster Accounts as a “real wake-up call to the UK political establishment” after questions were raised about the source of some donations.

Susan Hawley, executive director at Spotlight on Corruption, said: “This should be a real wake-up call to the UK political establishment to get serious about ensuring parties conduct proper checks on donations and are fully transparent about where the money is coming from. 

“More fundamentally, we have to have a serious public debate about the undue influence that donating to political parties allows, and how that distorts democratic decision-making.”