BBC produces evidence of Hague’s dishonesty over Ashcroft

The BBC has received a leaked Cabinet Office document suggesting William Hague was aware of, and approved, the terms of the deal under which Lord Ashcroft gained his place in the upper house.

Here’s what the BBC is reporting today:

Former Conservative leader William Hague was kept informed about the negotiations of Lord Ashcroft’s tax status, leaked papers have suggested.

He was said to be “satisfied” with the final outcome in July 2000, Cabinet Office papers seen by the BBC showed.

But that seems a little odd as,Hague claimed last November (and we reported), that he didn’t know the details the obligations placed on Lord Ashcroft, nor whether Ashcroft was a UK taxpayer.

Here’s the exchange between Andrew Marr and William Hague on 8th November 2009:

Marr “Does he pay taxes in the UK.”

Hague “I imagine that was the obligation that was imposed on him”

Marr “So you think he does.”

Hague “So I think he’s fulfilled what was asked of him. You can’t expect me to know the details of somebody’s tax affairs”

When there’s hard evidence of a party being dishonest over the status of its own largest donor, deputy chairman and peer, it seems reasonable to ask further questions.

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  • I’ve just listened to Hague being interviewed on the Today programme.

    Evan Davis tried his best but Hague was admitting nothing and, by implication, flatly denying that he knew that Ashcroft had, because of the agreement for him to be a resident (and only a resident) rather than ‘a permanent resident’ domiciled for tax purposes, avoided becoming a full UK tax payer.

    Pull the other one! This is the story of three conceited and remarkably unwise monkeys – Hague, the Tory party in general and those in government at the time who, according to Hague, knew every bit as much as he did (and that, of course, includes one T. Blair).

    When Hague said, in the HoC, that people in glass houses should not throw stones perhaps he this was a reprise of lines he had used many years before. I wonder who knew what and when in the Ecclestone affair. A million here a million there…what’s the difference.

    Hague has not a shred of credibility left. Will that result in him stepping down as Shadow Foreign Secretary. I don’t think so.

    For anyone who has ears to hear and is not blinkered by party loyalty this ought to be the nail in the Tory coffin and, given the Labour government complicity in such a dodgy dealing, it ought to be a nail in their coffin too.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 18th Mar '10 - 9:04am

    Oddly, the statement about the leaked papers showing that Hague knew the terms of the deal has now been edited out of the BBC report cited above.

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