Andrew Rosenfeld, who is giving Labour at least £1m in several instalments, is putting much of the money towards winning over voters in marginal constituencies. That is apt as the property tycoon is no stranger to the concept of swing voters – given his own switch from Labour to the Tories and back again.
Last summer Rosenfeld, former chief executive of Minerva, was quoted in the Sunday Times saying that David Cameron was “the man for the job – no doubt about it“.
Labour had “run out of time“, he mused. “People have had enough. We are tired of the whole Labour message.” In fact David Cameron was “the only person who has the real capability of governing.”
That was early May last year, just days before the general election. But my understanding is that the Tories did not exactly embrace the tycoon with open arms. By contrast the opposition party has assiduously cultivated Rosenfeld to try to bring him back into the fold. In the intervening months he has had several meetings with Ray Collins, Labour’s general secretary, and more recently with Ed Miliband. Rosenfeld, who had lived in Geneva but has now returned to London, has pronounced himself genuinely impressed with the new Labour leader.
Rosenfeld was caught up in the cash for honours scandal in 2006 as one of a dozen businessmen who secretly loaned money to Labour. His £1m loan was repaid two years ago.
Rosenfeld, who is said to be worth £100m, is proud of his philanthropy, having been a chief fundraiser for the NSPCC’s campaign to end child cruelty.
No doubt this is a boost for Ed Miliband, whose standing has improved in the last fortnight thanks to his sure-footed performance in attacking the Murdoch empire. We were writing only a few months ago that private and corporate donations to Labour had shrivelled to a tenth of their usual level (while in power) in the first six months of the Miliband leadership.