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J.K. Rowling backs U.K.'s Labour Party with big check

The 'Harry Potter' author made a rare foray into Britain's bruising political battles, donating $1.8 million to the struggling Labour Party and accusing the rival Conservatives of discriminating against poor parents trying to work their way out of poverty.
/ Source: The Associated Press

It sounds like Harry Potter will vote for the Labour Party when the boy wizard is old enough to cast a ballot.

'Harry Potter' author J.K. Rowling made a rare foray into Britain's bruising political battles Saturday, donating $1.8 million to the struggling Labour Party and accusing the rival Conservatives of discriminating against poor parents trying to work their way out of poverty.

In a statement that referred back to the days when she was struggling to feed and clothe her family, Rowling said Prime Minister Gordon Brown has worked hard to reduce child poverty while Conservative chief David Cameron has proposed tax changes that would hurt working single parents.

"I believe that poor and vulnerable families will fare much better under the Labour Party than they would under a Cameron-led Conservative Party," said Rowling, who has become one of the world's richest and most successful authors with the unprecedented appetite for 'Harry Potter' stories.

The Labour Party opens its annual conference trailing the resurgent Conservatives by more than 20 points in most opinion polls with an election due within two years.

Brown, who is trying to quash a rebellion from some members of his own party, thanked Rowling for the donation, which comes at a time when the Labour Party is saddled with extensive debts. He said he was "delighted" with her help.

Rowling has generally stayed out of the political frays, but she appears to have been upset by Conservative tax plans that she said would increase benefits for married couples without helping single parents.

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

British newspapers this year estimated Rowling's wealth at $1 billion.