David Cameron is feeling the the tax dodging heat today, facing charges of hypocrisy over his failure to condemn celeb Tory Gary Barlow’s tax avoidance, having last night laid into non-Tory Jimmy Carr’s tax arrangements.
Asked by ITN’s Tom Bradby if he thought Barlow’s “tax affairs were morally wrong and should he give back his OBE”, the prime minister passed up the chance to censure his Tory chum, dodging the tax dodging question by saying he would not give a “running commentary on different people’s tax affairs” as “that would not be right”. By which he means ‘I’ll give a commentary on lefty Jimmy Carr, but not my mate Gary Barlow’.
The Tory leader’s lack of consisteny was mocked on Twitter – with people also pointing to Tory tax-dodger-in-chief Sir Philip Green:
“Jimmy Carr,Lord Ashcroft,Vodafone,Goldman Sachs,Gary Barlow, I wonder which one doesn’t back tories?” – Jim Macred
“Trying to dismantle the career of Jimmy Carr while not mentioning Gary Barlow speaks volumes about the schoolboy running our country.” – Coffee Punk
“PM now refusing equal criticism of Gary Barlow over tax avoidance after railing against Jimmy Carr. Is it because Barlow is a Tory?” – Sunny Hundal
“Utterly spineless from Cameron. Jimmy Carr is “morally wrong”, but on Tory donor Gary Barlow? No comment. Pathetic.” – Marcus Dysch
“So Cameron has a lot to say about Jimmy Carr but nothing about his mate and Tory boy Gary Barlow. Disgraceful hypocrisy.” – Gavin Callaghan
“pm not willing to do a jimmy carr on gary barlow. think he may regret having done a jimmy carr on jimmy carr actually…” – Joey Jones
“Angela Eagle asking about tax avoidance. Why is Jimmy Carr immoral but Gary Barlow gets an OBE and Philip Green gets a knighthood and a job?” – MD
“Dave quick to kick Jimmy Carr (allegedly a leftie, allegedly a comic) over tax but not Gary Barlow (certainly a Tory, allegedly a singer)” – Kevin Mitchell
“Tory, Gary Barlow, still off the radar for avoiding far, far more tax than Jimmy Carr in an identical scheme. Funny that.” – Paul Lewis
“It’s amazing how Jimmy Carr get his balls chewed off by Prime Minister while Princess Gary Barlow doesn’t even get a mention.” – Coffee Punk
“It appears Cameron has got himself into a right pickle!Hes thought oh lets ‘go for’ lefty Jimmy Carr but then ooops Tory Gary Barlow pops up” – Ian
“Cameron says Jimmy Carr’s tax affairs are “morally wrong” – but he hasn’t had time to look into allegations against Gary Barlow (OBE)” – Polly Curtis
“If Cameron is singling out Jimmy Carr, will he throw same accusation at Gary Barlow? No? Funny that. Could it be that Barlow is a Tory?” – Chris Nicholson
Of course it’s not just Barlow and Green, there’s Ashcroft, Osborne, Mitchell, Hammond…
• Osborne, Barclays, the Cayman Islands and tax avoidance 17 Apr 2012
• Osborne, Mitchell and Hammond accused of tax avoidance 18 Oct 2010
… Not forgetting Cameron’s “red carpet” invite to greedy French tax dodgers seeking to hop across the Channel to avoid paying their fair share of tax under new French President François Hollande.
Cameron’s Tory party looks like its riddled with tax dodgers, avoiders, evaders – cheats, the real “scroungers” in society, and he seems attracted to them, surrounding himself with these shady characters, “all in it together” with the selfish few, saying not a word against them.
Jimmy Carr has at least, at last, belatedly shown contrition – yet the same cannot be said of any of the Tory tax chisellers. Will Cameron ever condemn them? Don’t hold your breath.