Thursday, 18 March 2010

What did Hague Know, as Ashcroft Silences Panorama?

Yesterday David Cameron used all six of his PMQs questions on challenging Gordon Brown to cross picket lines. It was a pretty transparent attempt to take the spotlight off the Ashcroft affair, the sub theme being: Trades Unions are bad thing, Labour's relations with trades Unions are the real problem and Ashcroft is just a side show.

But today's Independent carries a rather sinister story about a Panorama programme which is being kept off the air by Ashcroft's lawyers.

Now, if the real problem is the Trades Union, why would te Tories be so sensitive about a news report on Ashcroft that they resort to heavy handed banning of free reporting of the facts?

Meanwhile reports are emerging that William Hague may have known all along that Ashcroft had made a secret agreement not to pay full UK taxes.

Surely now the pressure must be put on to help the BBC get show on the air. It will not do that the real truth, whether hostile to Ashcroft and the Tories or not, emerges after the election

PS 16.50 Thursday 18th Mar

The bubble has burst.

Polly Toynbee explains here that

Lord Ashcroft's peerage was awarded on the basis that he would become a full UK taxpayer, relinquishing his "non-dom" status and providing Inland Revenue with proof that he was both UK resident and domiciled, according to explosive new evidence released by the government to parliament. 
The relevant letters are here and they show the obvious expectations of the Cabinet Office and William Hague that Ashcroft would be a "permanent resident" of the UK, and how that was changed, and how Hague's promise that Ashcroft would pay taxes in the UK to the tune of "tens of millions", never came to pass.

This has the potential to be an election loser for the Tories. Hague has a lot to explain, as has Ashcroft and Cameron. Namely: why was the original promise of "permanent residence" changed?  whose decision was it? when did Hague know? when did Cameron know? who else in the Conservative Party knew and when? why did they keep it secret? were they wholly honest when questioned on Ashcroft's status over the years?

1 comment:

  1. Absolutley correct. PMQs was torturous yesterday with GB seemingly taking a lot of abuse from Cameron about Unite whilst not once mentioning Ashcroft.