Monday, February 08, 2010

Why don't the Tories come clean on Lord Ashcroft's tax status?

Sir George Young has always seemed one of the more decent Conservatives. I felt sorry for him when Michael Martin was hoisted into the Speaker's chair ahead of him because of unthinking backbench determination that a Labour House should have a Labour Speaker.

But his performance on the Today programme this morning, where he twisted and turned every way to avoid giving a straight answer on Lord Ashcroft's tax status, was embarrassing. It will be hard to regard him in the same light after that.

The Guardian website has a transcript of this interview, together with excerpts from several others in which senior Tories have been similarly evasive on the subject.

If he is paying tax, they would surely say so. But these clumsy attempts to avoid the question are only making journalists more intrigued. So if an admission that Lord Ashcroft is not paying UK tax does eventually come, the Conservatives have ensured that it will receive maximum publicity.

I am genuinely puzzled by their approach.

6 comments:

Red Rag said...

Because Mr Ashcroft won't let them.

vehemently

Anonymous said...

Seems like George Young inadvertently let the cat out of the bag on Newsnight when he said Ashcroft's tax status was like that of Labour's Lord Paul, non-domiciled.

Max Atkinson said...

I'm amazed that you're amazed by a politician being evasive in interviews, as it's become the norm and is extremely rare for them to give as many as 5 straight answers in a row - as Nigel Lawson did when he resigned from the Thatcher government (http://bit.ly/a9yaZO) - from which there are links to a few other rare specimens, plus reasons why it's so easy for politicians to be so evasive and why interviews have become such a tedious form of political communication.

harnett accountants said...

It should be (but isn't) unbelievable that first the public and media have to battle to make him reveal his tax status. It will be very interesting watching events unfold from the vote on MP's and Lord's tax status

wolfi said...

This reminds me of my first visit to England in 1965 - doing a language course in Canterbury.
We had been told many things about British democracy and the press (Fleet ST. seemed to be something wonderful) - and then I got to read those horrible papers like the Sun or the Daily Telegraph and read report on the parliament - and I wanted to puke.

I was so disillusioned by the reality ...

Jonathan said...

Max: I realise you want to promote your blog, but my argument is a little more subtle than you suggest.