After much obfuscation, the deputy chairman of the Conservative party Michael Ashcroft has finally admitted he is not domiciled in the UK for tax purposes.
Despite George Young’s recent admission on Newsnight, many senior Tories had continued to insist that Ashcroft was a UK domicile.
The Guardian reports Ashcroft’s statement was designed to pre-empt a disclosure by the Cabinet Office – in response to a Freedom of Information Act request – of a promise he made to return to the UK and pay income tax as part of a deal which saw him assume a peerage in 2000.
The Electoral Commission says Ashcroft and his companies have donated £6.8 million to the Tories since 2001, and this money is helping bankroll the party’s election campaign in marginal constituencies up and down the land.
Under UK law political parties can only accept donations from those registered to vote in this country or from companies “carrying on business” here. One of Ashcroft’s donor businesses, Bearwood Corporate Services stands accused of operating as a front to circumvent this rule.
The Electoral Commission has been investigating Ashcroft/Bearwood since October 2008, but it has yet to conclude its inquiry.
** Additional information & advice about UK tax law **
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