The latest figures from the Electoral Commission show that the Tories received donations from various lobbying consultancies in the last quarter.
City firm Finsbury, headed by Roland Rudd, donated £8,000 in July – the first registered donation from Finsbury to the Tories. The donation will raise eyebrows as Rudd is a close ally of the Labour peer Lord Mandelson.
EUK Consulting, which lobbies for British American Tobacco, donated £9,000 in July. Hanover Communications, the public affairs firm founded by former Tory comms chief Charles Lewington, donated £13,500 in August. In the same month, Euro RSCG Apex Communications donated £11,900 and Bell Pottinger donated £11,500.
The Tories also received an £8,500 donation in August from Lord Chadlington's Huntsworth group, owner of PR and lobbying firms including Citigate Dewe Rogerson, Grayling and Quiller Consultants.
Since the election, the Tories also received £6,000 from New Century Media, chaired by former British Airways lobbying chief David Burnside,
Political parties received £7.2m in donations in the third quarter of 2010 compared with £26.26m in the previous quarter, according to the latest figures from the Electoral Commission.
In the last quarter, the Tories received 60 donations from companies totalling £707,765, while Labour received just 10 donations from companies, amounting to £132,959.
The only lobbying firm to donate to Labour in the last quarter was Sovereign Strategy, run by the former Labour MEP Alan Donnelly, which donated £2,400. Labour also collected a £10,000 donation from its former comms chief Alastair Campbell.
The Liberal Democrats are listed as having received eight donations from companies in the last quarter, totalling £51,480, with no lobbying firms showing up in the records.
Industry sources stressed that donations from public affairs firms frequently reflected the cost of attending events. 'Public affairs firms aren't going around waving cheques at political parties,' said one senior lobbyist. 'It's more likely to be the cost of a table at a corporate dinner.'