Now even the Telegraph calls on Tories to make Lord Ashcroft “come clean” over tax status

The decision of the Tory party to turn a blind eye to the mysterious tax status of their deputy chairman – and the man who funds their marginal seats campaign – has come under close media scrutiny in the last few weeks, with Lib Dem deputy leader Vince Cable last week raising the issue at (Deputy) Prime Minister’s Questions, and labelling Lord (Michael) Ashcroft a “non-dom”.

A week ago, Lib Dem treasury spokesman Lord (Matthew) Oakeshott wrote to his fellow peer to put the the simple question – “Are you a non-dom or not?” – to him directly: no answer as yet. It’s an issue Matthew has been pursuing for some years – see, for example, this story on LDV – Lib Dem peer attacks Lord Offshore Ashcroft – from July 2007.

Now the Tory party’s house journal, The Daily Telegraph, has also turned its attentions on Lord Ashcroft, and gives some sound advice to David Cameron, who so far has shown himself completely unable to stand up to his biggest donor:

The tax status of Lord Ashcroft, the Tory deputy chairman, remains something of an enigma – one that Labour will exploit mercilessly between now and polling day. It featured in last week’s PM’s Questions, for example. Mr Cameron has promised to legislate to bar so-called non-doms from sitting in either House of Parliament. Better still, he could simply ask Lord Ashcroft to take a lead from the shadow cabinet and come clean.

After all, if the Tory leader is unable to stand up to his friends when he’s in opposition and enjoys a large opinion poll lead, how much less likely is he to do it in government, and finds himself increasingly dependent on his closest supporters?

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  • Jessica Ashman 21st Dec '09 - 12:55pm

    Isn’t this the sort of problem of a legislators tax status being unknown that David Camerons proposed law would overcome.

    Of course this is not unique to one man as your article would have us believe, the tax status of virtually all our legislators are unknown.

  • I’ve always wondered to what extent the campaign against Ashcroft is really motivated by genuine concerns about his tax status. It strikes me that, especially from Labour’s perspective, the real motivation is the money he pours into marginal seats.

  • Malcolm Todd 21st Dec '09 - 3:44pm

    To repeat a point I’ve made elsewhere, the number of days spent in the UK is irrelevant to non-dom status. You’re thinking of non-resident status, which is different, and for which the rule of thumb (not an absolute rule) is 90 days.

    By the way, what’s happened to the topic-tracking email notification system?

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