Zac Goldsmith’s £260,000 “punt” on getting elected

Latest figures from the Electoral Commission reveal that Zac Goldsmith, Conservative candidate for Richmond Park, has spent more than a quarter of a million pounds of his own money in the hope of getting elected.

From today’s London Evening Standard:

“The environmentalist has donated £260,000 since he was selected to fight the Richmond Park seat in 2007, according to the latest figures from the Electoral Commission…

“Virtually all of the money goes to office staff and “office costs”. The party says that Mr Goldsmith set up his own office in Richmond, separate to the local association’s headquarters. The candidate employs two members of staff to help him campaign…

“Today, Lib-Dem Treasury spokesman Lord Oakeshott said: “Zac Goldsmith seems to think he can buy a seat in Parliament as if he were punting on a roulette wheel. £250,000 is £3.50 and counting for every voter in Richmond Park.”

“But in a letter to local Tories, Mr Goldsmith pointed out that he pays full tax on his UK income. “I do not believe family wealth accords any entitlement whatsoever in democratic politics. But nor do I believe it should be a barrier to my continuing to work for the things we all believe in,” he wrote.”

You can read the full story here.

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  • Jessica Ashman 15th Dec '09 - 12:36pm

    How dare he use his own money for this, he should use the proceeds of crime like the lib dems.

  • Hopefully this little gem hidden away at the bottom of the story will get more coverage as well …….

    “The Standard has also learned that the Conservative Party continues to face legal action from the Electoral Commission over an illegal donation from Mr Goldsmith to his local party.”

  • Grammar Police 15th Dec '09 - 2:18pm

    Mark, people like “Jessica Ashman” don’t understand that accepting a donation after all the proper checks is not the same as deliberately spending “the proceeds of crime”. IMO they have this problem mainly because they don’t want to understand – they much prefer to try to deflect criticism of their own party. Or perhaps they are just really stupid.

  • Malcolm Todd 15th Dec '09 - 3:28pm

    Sorry, no, this is a non-starter. You’re confusing domicile with residency (a common mistake). I think (I’m no tax lawyer) the difference is that if you’re non-resident you never have to pay tax on income that arises outside the UK, whereas if you are resident but not domiciled, you do have to pay tax on that income when you ‘bring it into’ this country. Though apparently there are lots of ways of getting hold of your money without officially bringing it in as income. Anyway, it doesn’t make any difference how much time ZG stays here – as far as I know he is resident in the UK.

  • It is interesting, though, Malcolm, that the problem with his donation to his local party in 2008, which I think was made in 2007, was because he was not on the electoral register. The discussion on LDV in 2008 put this down to being a mistake, but in the light of our subsequent knowledge is it not equally likely that it was something to do with his tax arrangements?

  • This is what Zac said about it
    ““Despite having been non-domiciled because of my father’s status, I have always chosen to be tax resident in the UK.

    “Virtually everything I do is in the UK and therefore virtually all my income comes to the UK where I pay full tax on it.

    “I do not derive any benefits as far as either capital gains tax or inheritance is concerned since I am registered for the latter in the UK”.

  • Oh, hello again David: it’s very helpful of you to keep drawing our attention to what Goldsmith has said to try to explain himself because when one analyses what he is actually saying one can see what a lot of self-serving tosh it is. What, for example, does that last sentence actually mean? “I do not derive any benefits as far as either capital gains tax or inheritance (tax) is concerned since I am registered for the latter in the UK”. I thought inheritance tax was paid by the estate of the deceased, not the recipient, in which case what is the relevance of this statement? This also must mean that he is not registered to pay capital gains tax in the UK, but if his income is derived from a trust fund rather than from buying and selling things then he wouldn’t have to pay any capital gains tax anyway. This is all just smoke and mirrors designed to hide the true gains he has made with his tax arrangements while campaigning to become part of a government of all the cronies.

  • So David, no further comment on Goldsmith’s obfuscatory phrases from his (self-appointed?) web parrot? Doesn’t surprise me.

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