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Express owner Richard Desmond donates £300,000 to Ukip

The Daily Express owner Richard Desmond is making a £300,000 donation to Ukip, according to reports, fuelling speculation his newspaper titles will back the party at next year's general election.

According to Sky News, the six-figure donation was discussed between Desmond and Ukip leader Nigel Farage at a meeting earlier this month.

Desmond's pledge will be viewed as a strong hint that his stable of titles – Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday – will endorse Farage's party ahead of May's vote.

A recent Express leader column hinted at its support for Ukip. "Nigel Farage's message is hugely popular across Britain. Huge numbers of people are sick of the EU, sick of mass immigration and sick of a political elite that refuses to listen to the electorate," it said.

In October, Ukip peer Lord Stevens became Express Newspapers' deputy chairman.