Tag Archives: david cameron

Offshore 101, or: Can we please stop asking David Cameron to resign?

One of my favourite things about the Liberal Democrats is members don’t just get stuck into debates – they go looking for the evidence to back up what they’ve got to say. That’s why this week’s furore around what David Cameron did or didn’t do has been so frustrating.

The Panama Papers are fascinating to me, as a lawyer and a would-be tax specialist. It looks likely that when the dust has settled there will be evidence of money laundering, of tax evasion, of tax avoidance and of regulatory failings. But so far most journalists and commentators are throwing around words like fund and trust as if they’re the same thing, and treating tax avoidance, tax evasion and money laundering as equivalent acts. Unfortunately, much of the social media discussion so far has accepted these red herrings.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 57 Comments

Should politicians publish their tax returns?

Here’s Tim Farron telling Sky News on Friday that he is going to release his tax return, regardless of whether anyone else does. He said he made his decision because he thought that people had “a right to have their confidence in their leaders enhanced and not further diminished.”

Tim Farron: “I’m Going To Publish My Tax Return”“It’s up to him. I’m going to.” Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron on whether David Cameron should publish his tax return.

Posted by Sky News on Friday, 8 April 2016

And so, David Cameron has now published his tax return. It doesn’t really tell us anything that we didn’t know already. We discover that he’s a rich man. We discover that he and his wife get more in rent for their Notting Hill home every year than some of our homes are worth. They are getting in more than £7,500 per month.

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Is it Game Over for Cameron?

A few years ago, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives had to resign effectively because he’d taken a few taxi journeys that he shouldn’t on parliamentary expenses. This was the result of the much stronger freedom of information rules in Scotland and was part of our own expenses scandal in 2005.

If those are the standards which merit resignation, David Cameron should perhaps have been a little more careful over the statements he made earlier in the week over his personal financial dealings. He might have told us that he didn’t have any shares now, but holding back the information that he had held shares in his father’s offshore trust for 13 years before selling them just before he became Prime Minister demonstrates a lack of candour. Why couldn’t he just have been up front about it at the beginning of the week? We should expect more from our political leaders.

Tim Farron agrees, telling the Mirror:

The Prime Minister has for days denied that he had offshore funds but has been dragged to the truth.

For ordinary taxpayers to have faith in the system they have to be able to have faith in their leaders. They deserve better than half truths and qualified statements.

It might be an idea for the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to review the matter to make sure that Cameron always kept to the rules on registering these shares. At first glance, it looks as though he did. The rules for registering shareholdings are as follows:

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David Laws on Marr: I want to expose how NHS chief was leant on to encourage debate on NHS funding

It’s the second week of David Laws’ coalition revelations serialised in the Mail on Sunday. This week we have him telling us that:

To take them in turn:

You have to wonder why we bought and publicised the £8bn figure, too. It’s all very well for David Laws to tell Andrew Marr today that Norman Lamb was always sceptical about it, but I seem to recalls making a massive thing about how we were the only party who was going to meet the £8bn request in full. If we knew that the figure was nonsense then, why on earth did we not say loudly and lay out the choices that the nation faced in a much more realistic way?

On Marr, David Laws emphasised how the Lib Dems helped IDS veto Treasury requests for further welfare cuts, confirming that Osborne saw it as a cash cow.There are problems with this analysis, though.  Danny Alexander seemed to be hand in glove with Osborne on a lot of this stuff, at one point calling people affected by the Bedroom Tax “bedroom blockers.” Also, a lot of the really awful ideas, from the rape clause to the capping at two children were IDS’s idea.

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How could David Cameron keep a straight face?

So, David Cameron accuses the SNP of being a one-party state and says the Conservatives are the people to stop them. The BBC reports:

Only the Tories can challenge the SNP and prevent Scotland becoming a “one party state”, David Cameron has said.

In a speech to the Scottish Conservative conference, the prime minister insisted his party was the only one that could challenge the Nationalists.

How he said that with a straight face, I’ll never know. These comments come from the man who is doing his damnedest to stitch up the political system for himself. He blocks any attempts at electoral reform. He changes the rules the boundaries with the result that his party has an advantage. He does everything he can to avoid parliamentary scrutiny, limiting the power of the Lords and Scottish MPs. The changes he pushed for on electoral registration mean that a million fewer people can vote. Then there’s the denial of the vote to 16 year olds at every level and trying to limit opposition funds through the Trade Union Bill.

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A practical suggestion to improve the UK’s influence within the EU

As a Brit, living in Brussels and working in the European Parliament, I’ve had a lot to reflect on over the past months and weeks.

When asked by friends and colleagues, “well what do you think about ‘Cameron’s renegotiation'”, I reply “embarrassed”.

It’s a very English sense of embarrassment, arising from the social awkwardness of being associated with someone who has done something fairly stupid and feeling guilty by proxy. Like being the nephew of the drunk uncle who ruins the children’s birthday party, it is difficult to have any response other than a weary “yes, I’m sorry he’s at it again”.

This is in many ways the scenario we find ourselves in today.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 28 Comments

Tim Farron on English language classes for Muslim women

 

David Cameron has announced a £20 million fund for English language classes for Muslim women, claiming that 22% of Muslim women in the UK do not speak English.

That figure of 22% was challenged on the BBC Today programme by Dal Babu, a former chief superintendent with the Metropolitan Police, who claims that the figure should be nearer 6%.

Help with learning English is the least the Government can do to help migrants settle down, live a full life in the UK and contribute to the local community. That is why in the Coalition the Lib Dems prevented the Government from cutting funding for English language classes.

So why limit it to Muslim women? The answer to that question is revealed in the subtext – Cameron manages to link the lack of English with extremism.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 35 Comments
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  • User AvatarPeter Watson 1st May - 10:08pm
    @David Evans "Sadly it is the clear view of most of those voters that he failed to do that and even worse, they believe that...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 1st May - 9:48pm
    Typo "tests".
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 1st May - 9:46pm
    Without knowing a lady's age it is difficult to comment, but there are two teats 1) Do you remember where you were when you heard...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 1st May - 9:11pm
    Caractacus - How true. All Nick had to do was stick to what he had promised and fight for those who had put their trust...
  • User AvatarRuth Bright 1st May - 8:10pm
    Lorenzo - very much agree about Maria's very interesting contribution. There is only one thing more uncomfortable than saying something and that is the horrible...
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