Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lord Ashcroft

Denis MacShane has written to both Baroness Hayman and David Cameron to seek clarification as to whether the noble Lord Ashcroft is domiciled in the UK in the full tax-paying sense. I wonder what the reply will be?


Baroness Hayman
Lords Speaker
House of Lords
London SW1

9 November 2007

Lord Ashcroft


I am writing to you to see if you can clarify the status of Lord Ashcroft as a UK tax-paying resident fully domiciled in Britain as a member of our Parliament.

It seems impossible to get any clarification on his status as to where he lives and where he pays taxes. Given his increasing role in our national political life and given that he is a Parliamentarian I believe other Parliamentarians have the right to know what his status is.
His entry into the Lords was made at the request of the Rt Hon William Hague when the latter was Leader of the Conservative Party. The then Chairman of the Honours Committee, Lord Thomson, asked the Prime Minister (Tony Blair) to clarify the then Mr Ashcroft’s residence and tax status. When he was made a peer, Downing Street (not Lord Ashcroft) issued a statement in March 2000 stating that ‘Michael Ashcroft has given a clear and unequivocal assurance that he will take up permanent residence in the UK before the end of the calendar year.’
Seven years later and we still do not know if he is domiciled in the UK in the full tax-paying sense. You will have seen the reports about his financial role in UK politics. I doubt if there has ever been a single individual seeking by use of his own private money to take control of so many seats in the Commons ever in parliamentary history. Even in the worst days of the rotten boroughs, there were a multitude of rich grandees vying to use money to secure seats for their candidates. Now it is one individual and we do not even know if he has residence and pays tax here like other Parliamentarians.

I hope you can write to Lord Ashcroft and ask him to make clear the situation. It is now a matter of considerable public interest and the good name of Parliament is sullied when we do not know what the status is of a legislator who makes the laws of our country.


Rt Hon Dr Denis MacShane MP

2)

Rt Hon David Cameron MP
Leader of the Conservative Party
House of Commons
London SW1

9 November 2007

Lord Ashcroft

I enclose a letter I have sent to the Lords Speaker, Baroness Hayman, asking her to write to Lord Ashcroft and obtain answers to the questions of where he lives in terms of officially notified residence and where he pays his taxes.

You or William Hague who gave assurances that Lord Ashcroft would become resident in Britain when William insisted he be given a peerage in 2000 could save Lady Hayman the trouble of writing her letter by making Lord Ashcroft’s status public. I assume you know.
Lord Ashcroft is now a major public figure in our national political life on account of the money he is spending to seek to win control of parliamentary seats. I doubt if in British political history there is any equivalent example of one single individual paying out so much cash to obtain control over seats in the Commons.

Compared to the millions of trade unionists who make small individual contributions via the many unions linked to Labour, the financial role of just one rich man in today’s politics is without precedent and no equivalent exists anywhere else in the democratic world.
I hope you can clarify this matter speedily so that we all know Lord Ashcroft’s status.

Rt Hon Dr Denis MacShane MP

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