Rishi Sunak is facing more embarrassment after the Conservatives were fined for under-reporting more than £200,000 in donations.

The Electoral Commission today reported the party had paid two fines totalling £10,750 after an investigation found it failed to report 20 “non-cash” donations over three years.

It followed Tory donor Richard Harpin seconding an employee to the party between April 2020 and December 2023.

Mr Harpin, founder of home repairs company HomeServe and review website Checkatrade, has given the partyalmost £3m in cash and non-cash donations since 2008.

In total, the party under-reported the donations by more than £200,000 when the employee went from part-time to full-time work, and subsequently reported a single non-cash donation relating to the same employee in December 2023.

The party paid two fines totalling £10,750 on March 6.

Louise Edwards, director of regulation and digital transformation at the Electoral Commission, said: “The political finance laws we enforce are there to ensure transparency in how parties are funded and to increase public confidence in our system, so it’s important donations are fully and clearly reported.

“Where we find offences, we carefully consider the circumstances before deciding whether to impose a sanction. We take into account a range of factors before making our final decision, including proportionality.”

The fine is the largest paid by the Tories since the £17,800 penalty levied in December 2021, for failing to deliver an accurate donation report and keep accurate accounting records.

The news comes as Mr Sunak struggles with a catalogue of bad news, including the defection of MP Lee Andeson to Reform, dire polling numbers and reports of Tory MPs plotting to replace him with Commons leader Penny Mordaunt before an autumn election.

UK Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said the Prime Minister “sounds like he’s already given up” .

Former Tory cabinet minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg said Mr Sunak cannot be held “personally responsible” for the Tories’ woeful poll ratings, and the party must now stick with him as leader until the election.

Sir Jacob said it was “inconceivable” for Ms Mordaunt to take the job, and the Tories had “to just get on with it” with Mr Sunak in post.

Labour has an average poll lead of around 20 points, fuelling Tory unease in a general election year.

Sir Jacob said: “In defence of Rishi Sunak, it is quite hard for a leader at this stage… to be significantly more popular than his party.

“The Conservative Party’s popularity fell before Rishi Sunak’s did, so I don’t think we can hold him personally responsible.”

Former defence secretary Ben Wallace said it was “too late” to replace Mr Sunak and Tory candidates at the election just had to “march towards the sound of the guns”.

Cabinet minister Lucy Frazer said Mr Sunak was “the right man to lead the country”.

Asked whether Ms Mordaunt would be a good leader, she told BBC Radio 5 Live: “We’ve got lots of excellent talent on our benches but the Prime Minister, who I worked with when he was chancellor and obviously I’m in Cabinet with now, I think does an outstanding job.

“He is full of integrity. He has a plan which will deliver, which is already delivering, and has huge knowledge about the economy…

“So I think he’s absolutely the right man to lead the country and he has shown he can deliver across the board, but importantly on that key issue, which is the economy.”

Ms Mordaunt told reporters she was “getting on with my job” when asked if she supported the PM this morning.