Theresa May’s boasts of cutting Russian donors last night rang hollow after it was revealed the PM received £50,000 while blaming Moscow for the Skripal poisoning.
On the very day Mrs May was firmly pointing a finger at Vladimir Putin over the Salisbury murder bid, a former Kremlin aide’s wife ploughed the cash into the Tory party’s coffers.
And Lubov Chernukhin gave a further £50,000 to the Conservatives as police investigated the assassination attempt on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia – bringing the total donated in the two weeks after the poisoning to £100,000.
Lubov’s husband Vladimir is Putin’s former deputy finance minister.
Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable branded the payment “sheer hypocrisy”.
He said: “The Conservatives should have returned the money straightaway. The very least they can do is return this now.”
Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery added: “It smacks of hypocrisy for Theresa May to accept tens of thousands of pounds from a donor with links to Putin’s regime on the same day she denounced the Kremlin over the Salisbury attack.
“The Tories need to come clean with the public about what checks they have made on the wealth amassed by their super-rich donors.”
It comes after we revealed two Tory peers – Lord Hague and Lord Barker – are both earning thousands of pounds a year from firms slammed by MPs over links to the Kremlin.
Lubov’s gift was on March 12, according to official records seen by the Mirror.
That same day, Mrs May told the Commons it was “highly likely” Russia was behind the Skripal murder attempt because of its “record of conducting state sponsored assassinations” and viewing “defectors as legitimate targets”.
Former spy Sergei, 66, and 33-year-old Yulia were poisoned on March 4 with what the PM described as the “military grade nerve agent” Novichok. The pair have since recovered.
The Kremlin has always denied involvement. On March 14, Mrs May expelled 23 Russian diplomats.
When she took office in July 2016, the PM said it would not be “business as usual” with Russian donors amid growing tensions between Moscow and the West. But her party has since received more than £800,000 from Russian-linked supporters.
Banker Lubov alone has donated more than £600,000 since 2010.
It is understood she has lived here for many years and is a British citizen. There is no suggestion she has no right to donate to the Tory party.
Lubov and Vladimir, who was Putin’s aide for two years, are believed to live in Chelsea, West London.
Her £50,000 donation on March 12 was only uncovered after a Mirror analysis of documents published by the Electoral Commission.
Downing Street declined to comment. A party spokesman said: “All donations are properly and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission, published by them, and comply fully with the law.”
Lubov could not be reached for comment last night.
Mining billionaire’s £100k handout by Mikey Smith
The Conservatives have accepted more than £100,000 from billionaire Anil Agarwal, right, whose company is under investigation.
Thirteen protesters were reportedly shot dead outside a plant in India last month run by London-based mining giant Vedanta Resources.
Its environmental and human rights record has prompted Labour to demand the Tories return his donations.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell wants the firm de-listed from the London Stock Exchange to “remove its cloak of respectability”.
Vedanta says allegations are unfounded while the Tories insist donations “comply fully with the law”.
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