THE chairman of Southend United donated £3,000 to an MP’s General Election campaign, it can be revealed.

Ron Martin, the Blues owner, donated the cash to James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East, in the run up to the December poll.

The donation was revealed in Parliament’s Register of Members’ Interests.

Donations to MPs’ campaigns arelegal but must be declared.

Mr Martin did not respond to frequent Echo requests for a statement over a number of days but Mr Duddridge has now thanked the chairman for the donation.

He said: “I’m grateful to Ron and everybody else who donated to my election campaign. I hope they may also consider donating to my London Marathon fundraiser for charity HARP too.”

Other south Essex MPs received hefty donations towards their election campaigns, with Sir David Amess gifted two donations worth £11,800.

The MP for Southend West was gifted £10,000 from the 97 Dining Club, a dinner club which operates within his constituency, in Mountain Ash Avenue in Leigh.

Sir David was also donated £1,800 in the lead up to the election, from the 1912 Club, a golf club from Halesowen, on the outskirts of Birmingham.

The MP, who ran for deputy speaker in the House of Commons, did not respond to the Echo’s request for a statement.

Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, told the Echo that a donation of £13,000 to his election campaign allowed him to “communicate more effectively with the electorate”.

Cash was also handed over to Mr Metcalfe from the Anderson Group, a developer based in Chelmsford, and the MP explained the reasons behind the donation.

He said: “I have known Mark Anderson, chairman of the Anderson Group, in a personal capacity for over 15 years.

“He has very generously supported my re-election campaign previously and was generous enough to do it again in 2019.

“The donation has been fully declared and registered.”

Mark Francois, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, Rebecca Harris, MP for Castle Point, and John Baron, MP for Basildon and Billericay, are yet to declare their election donations, according to the parliamentary documents.