PROPERTY tycoons, hedge fund managers and a cosmetics giant donated large sums to candidates’ campaigns in the last General Election.

MP hopefuls across Brighton and Hove received thousands in donations in the run-up to polling day on December 12.

Hove Labour candidate and current MP Peter Kyle was given more than £38,000 by financial backers during the election period, far more than the £11,534 he spent.

That included £20,000 from serial donor Simon Ruddick, founder of global investment firm Albourne Partners.

Mr Kyle’s campaign also received £2,000 from Graham Claisse, father of the Labour MP’s former business partner Rob Claisse and current Albourne chief executive John Claisse.

The Hove MP also holds shares in Rob Claisse’s kiteboarding instruction firm Progression Sports Ltd.

Mr Kyle said the donations were necessary to fund his Church Road office’s community work.

“What people have to understand is Parliamentary expenses only cover about half of my community operations and shop rent,” Mr Kyle said.

“It’s very expensive to do it, but I do this job in an expensive way by choosing to be so visible like having the shop in Church Road.

“I have apprentices and I pay the living wage. I’ve always accepted that’s the way I want to do the job.

“Simon has supported my community work for more than 20 years now, he helped fund a charity I had co-founded.

“Graham Claisse is my best mate’s dad. These are all people who have known me for a very long time.”

But one former backer of Mr Kyle’s instead chose to help Conservative rival Robert Nemeth in last year’s election.

Brighton property firm Karis Developments donated £5,000 to city councillor Nemeth’s campaign to take Hove from Labour.

The company had previously given £10,000 to Mr Kyle’s 2015 General Election campaign.

Karis director Josh Arghiros said his change of heart came about due to changes in the Labour Party.

“When I donated to Peter Kyle in 2015 Labour didn’t have Jeremy Corbyn as a leader, it wasn’t as left-wing and the party represented the people,” he said.

“But since then Labour has sat on the fence on Brexit, they didn’t take a position. We saw a leader that was not a friend of the UK and we saw a party that was anti-Semitic.

“I didn’t trust Jeremy Corbyn to govern. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would.

“It’s nothing against Peter Kyle.”

Mr Arghiros said his firm intended to support the Conservatives in future elections.

“The current Conservative party took a position on Brexit and respected the will of the British people,” he said.

Tory candidate Cllr Nemeth received a combined £18,560 in donations in last year’s election.

This included £5,000 from Brighton and Hove Albion director and businessman Ray Bloom, uncle of Albion chairman Tony Bloom, and £1,500 from Hove property firm Peermark Ltd.

Cllr Nemeth said: “I am grateful to my many generous supporters who really got behind me when I needed financial backing at incredibly short notice.”

Mr Kyle and Cllr Nemeth were not the only candidates to be backed by wealthy donors in last year’s election.

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas took a combined £5,000 donation from Mark and Mo Constantine, founders of cosmetics giant Lush.

Mr Constantine told The Argus Ms Lucas “is the finest MP in Britain”.

“We are proud and delighted to support her financially,” he said.

Pro-EU political group More United also donated £1,000 towards Ms Lucas’s campaign.

Meanwhile the Communication Workers’ Union donated £2,500 to Mr Kyle and £4,000 to Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle’s re-election bid.

Labour MP Mr Russell-Moyle said the surplus funds would be spent on informing residents.

“We just sent out letters to all constituents letting them know my contact details,” he said.

“We don’t just want to run a campaign and that’s it, so the £4,000 the CWU donated will go towards communications like that.

“The majority of funding came from people who donated to the local party, mostly small donations.”

Former Brighton Kemptown MP Des Turner also donated £100 to Mr Russell-Moyle. “It’s a nice vote of confidence from a former MP to his successor,” the current MP said.