A Liberal Democrat donor has snubbed many of the party's MPs, including Danny Alexander, to give £300,000 to help Labour candidates get elected in May.


The money from Lord Oakeshott, a key ally of Business Secretary Vince Cable, will boost Ed Miliband's chances of becoming Prime Minister.

But the former Lib Dem peer's decision not to back many Liberal MPs threatens to cause a rift in the party.

Lord Oakeshott, a former member of the SDP, has not donated to those Lib Dem MPs that he sees as on the right of the party and linked to Nick Clegg, including Mr Alexander and fellow Scottish MP Jo Swinson.

He has, however, backed a bid by the son of former Labour Home Secretary Jack Straw to become an MP in England.

Lord Oakeshott told the Financial Times he had donated £600,000 in total in a bid to halt the election of a "Tory government cringing to Ukip" and avoid an In/out referendum on the European Union. The remainder will go to LibDem MPs and candidates.

The peer was forced to resign from the Lib Dems after an abortive coup against Mr Clegg last year.

The property investor is a former Labour party member who left to join the SDP in 1981.

He also donated to the campaign by the leader of the Green party south of the border Caroline Lucas to hold on to her seat in Brighton.

At the weekend Mr Clegg shrugged off his party's low opinion poll ratings and insisted it was "silly" to suggest the Lib Dems would lose half of their seats in May.