Lords vote to ban tax exiles and non-doms from donating to political parties

Today’s Guardian reports on yesterday’s move by the House of Lords to accept an amendment which will ban tax exiles and non-doms from making a donation to British political parties. The amendment was moved by rebel Labour peer Lord (Dale) Campbell-Savours and backed by Lib Dem peers.

Peers last night voted to ban non-residents and so called “non-doms” from donating to political parties, in defiance of the Labour and Conservative frontbenches. A backbench Labour amendment, designed to force the Tory donor Lord Ashcroft to clarify his tax affairs, was passed by 107 votes to 85, a majority of 22.

The amendment to the political parties and elections bill, tabled by the former Labour MP Lord Campbell-Savours, was based on an amendment which was blocked from debate in the Commons. The vote last night means that MPs will be given a chance to debate and vote on the issue.

Here’s an excerpt from Lord (Paul) Tyler’s speech:

If we leave the Bill as it is, without a clear statement that these sorts of donations from foreign sources are not permissible, the Bill will not fulfil the requirements that the Government have placed upon it. Even since the Bill was in Grand Committee, there is greater awareness of the potential corruption of our political system by people with very large chequebooks who can buy their way into influencing a relatively small number of constituencies, the marginal seats. It takes us right the way back to the purchase of seats before the Reform Act 1832. As the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, said, unless we stand up for the right of citizens of this country who pay taxes to be the people who decide how our political system works, the House of Commons will not get its opportunity, and the Bill will be weaker for it.

His Lib Dem colleague, Lord (Matthew) Oakeshott also voiced his strong support for the amendment:

It is outrageous that non-resident Peers can sit and vote on our laws in this House, but it is even more outrageous that a person who does not pay full British tax can pay millions to a political party—money that is, in effect, filched from the British taxpayer by that person because he is not resident here and does not pay tax but can influence millions of votes.

A small but significant victory – now let’s see what the Labour/Tory-dominated House of Commons does…

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  • What is the purpose behind this except to spite the Tories?

  • Clealy we must not allow the unemployed to vote, they do not pay taxes either.

  • It seems that alot of people still do not understand that to contribute to a political party you must be a UK tax payer.

    If people who live outside the UK for a period of time have not left the UK and therefore under the UK tax legislation are still required to file an annual UK Tax Return – as they have to declare their worldwide income and capital gains and before using the available exemptions to claim relieves to reduce their tax liabilities.

    Therefore this bill is for political reasons and not for the benefit of this country.

  • This isn’t just spite about Tories – Lord Paul is one of the few declared non-doms in the Lords and he is a major Labour Party bankroller http://www.accountancyage.com/accountancyage/news/2196659/non-dom-billionaire-vows

  • Dear Jane, I am sure you will be welcomed back with open arms.
    I don’t know if this means you cannot join the UK party ( at the standard fee) or just that you cannot Donate sums above the £200 notifiable amount . Perhaps someone at Cowley st can comment.

    I think it is fair that only UK taxpayers can DONATE to political parties.

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