Monday, 1 March 2010

Tories bought like a banana republic

We had confirmation this weekend that tens of thousands of pounds from Lord Ascroft has been channeled into Sefton Tories. Now we have the damaging admission from Ashcroft that he does not pay full UK tax. It really is a scandal that when ordinary citizen's are struggling to pay their way and make ends meet a multi millionaire can avoid paying full UK tax and hand out millions to the Tories instead. Ordinary people don't have that choice, nor should Ashcroft. Locally the Tories simply could not deliver the volume of leaflets that we are seeing. Sefton is awash with expensively produced and delivered Tory leaflet paid for (as Saturday's Independent shows) in significant part by this injection of cash.

By contrast our campaign is made in Southport, for Southport and our volunteer network of Southport people are out doing the campaigning.

The BBC News reports:

The Liberal Democrats said the Conservative Party had been "bought like a banana republic".
Leader Nick Clegg added: "I think if you are seeking to influence the outcome of the next general election... then it is wholly wrong that you basically seek to pay taxes only partially in this country."
An amendment to the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill currently going through Parliament, which has all-party backing, will require all MPs and peers to be resident, ordinarily resident and domiciled in the UK for tax purposes.
Lord Ashcroft was initially rejected for a peerage in 1999 by the Political Honours Scrutiny Committee on the grounds that he spent most of his time abroad in Belize and Florida and conducted almost all of his financial matters overseas.
His company Bearwood Corporate Services Limited has been the largest single contributor to the Tories since 2005....

We reported yesterday that Chris Huhne has written to the Electoral Commission pushing to have the results of their enquiry published. The BBC reports:

For a company to make a donation, it must be trading in the UK and in February 2009, the Electoral Commission launched a formal investigation to determine whether this was the case.

The results of that inquiry have not yet been made public.
Information Commissioner Christopher Graham has called for the full details of Lord Ashcroft's status to be made public and criticised "evasive and obfuscatory" replies given by senior politicians on the subject.

Lib dem voice has more on this

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