Harry Potter author makes big political donation

Sat Sep 20, 2008 4:11am EDT
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By John Joseph

LONDON (Reuters) - Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling has donated 1 million pounds ($1.83 million) to Britain's ruling Labor Party to provide a much-needed boost to Prime Minister Gordon Brown as he fights for political survival.

A single mother when she wrote the first Potter book, Rowling said she believed Labor would protect poor families much better than David Cameron's opposition Conservative Party.

"The Labor government has reversed the long-term trend in child poverty, and is one of the leading EU countries in combating child poverty," said the nation's richest author, whose fortune was recently estimated at 560 million pounds.

"David Cameron's promise of tax perks for the married, on the other hand, is reminiscent of the Conservative government I experienced as a lone parent.

"It sends the message that the Conservatives still believe a childless, dual-income, but married couple is more deserving of a financial pat on the head than those struggling, as I once was, to keep their families afloat in difficult times."

Brown is facing the political fight of his life as Labor gathers for its annual conference this weekend in Manchester with several lawmakers openly calling for a new leader. The Conservatives lead by some 20 points in opinion polls as the economy teeters on the brink of its first recession in 16 years.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the seventh and last story from Rowling about the boy wizard and his friends at Hogwarts School, was published in July 2007.

The series has sold an estimated 400 million copies, and the books have been translated into more than 60 languages.

(Reporting by John Joseph; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

<p>Author J.K. Rowling poses with a copy of her book "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" at the Natural History Museum in London July 20, 2007. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico</p>