Hague in June: I have no reason to think Ashcroft hasn’t complied

William Hague assured Tony Blair that Ashcroft would pay "tens of millions a year in tax". In June, Hague said he had "no reason to think that he’s not complied."

A decade ago William Hague assured Tony Blair that upon becoming a peer, Michael Ashcroft would pay “tens of millions a year in tax”. As it emerged yesterday that Ashcroft had, in fact, been a ‘non dom’ during this period and avoided £127 million in tax, Left Foot Forward wonders why the shadow foreign secretary told Jeremy Paxman repeatedly in June last year that he had “no reason to think that he’s not complied with the commitments that he gave.”

The exchange of letters in 1999 between Tony Blair and William Hague, reproduced in this morning’s Guardian, outline the then-Tory leaders’ assurances about Michael Ashcroft:

“He is, however, committed to becoming resident by the next financial year in order properly to fulfil his responsibilities in the House of Lords. This decision will cost him (and benefit the Treasury) tens of millions a year in tax yet he considers it worthwhile.”

But in June 2009, William Hague faced 17 questions from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight about Lord Ashcroft including:

PAXMAN: Just one final point, in the current climate of suspicion about politics your deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft, a man whose peerage you lobbied for, saying that he would become resident in Britain for tax purposes, can you just tell us, is he resident in Britain for tax purposes now?

HAGUE: I’ve no reason to think that he’s not complied with the commitments that he gave …

PAXMAN: Have you asked him directly?

HAGUE: I have discussed it with him and I have no reason to think he hasn’t complied

Watch it:

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16 Responses to “Hague in June: I have no reason to think Ashcroft hasn’t complied”

  1. House Of Twits

    RT @leftfootfwd Did Hague lie? In June he told Paxman he had "no reason to think [Ashcroft] hasn't complied" http://cli.gs/Rq44A #Cashcroft

  2. Tim Ireland

    RT @houseoftwits: RT @leftfootfwd Did Hague lie? In June he told Paxman he had "no reason to think [Ashcroft] hasn't complied" http://cli.gs/Rq44A #Cashcroft

  3. Ellie Gellard

    RT @LeftFootFwd Did Hague lie? In June he told Paxman he had "no reason to think [Ashcroft] hasn't complied" http://cli.gs/Rq44A #Cashcroft

  4. topsy_top20k

    RT @leftfootfwd Did Hague lie? In June he told Paxman he had "no reason to think [Ashcroft] hasn't complied" http://cli.gs/Rq44A #Cashcroft

  5. AndyG

    RT @leftfootfwd: Did Hague lie? In June he told Paxman he had "no reason to think [Ashcroft] hasn't complied" http://cli.gs/Rq44A #Cashcroft

  6. Tristan Osborne

    RT @leftfootfwd: Did Hague lie? In June he told Paxman he had "no reason to think [Ashcroft] hasn't complied" http://cli.gs/Rq44A #Cashcroft

  7. Jessica Asato

    Tories say story on Ashcroft is "flogging a dead horse" Nope, I think it's very much alive.. http://bit.ly/bb73sy

  8. Andy Taylor

    RT @Jessica_Asato: Tories say story on Ashcroft is "flogging a dead horse" Nope, I think it's very much alive.. http://bit.ly/bb73sy

  9. Guido Fawkes

    And Lakshmi Mittal? Gave £4 million to Labour pays no income tax lives in Kensington, ring any bells?

  10. John H

    @Guido And Lakshmi Mittal made a solemn undertaking to pay “tens of millions” of taxes when, exactly? I’m not saying that Mittal or Lord Paul or any of the rest of them are an enhancement to the honour and dignity of politics, but with Ashcroft there are the additional factors of the lack of integrity over the undertakings made, the years of evasion, and the active role he has played in politics.

    That said, the aspect to this I’ve not seen any comment on is how the Cabinet Office managed to let Ashcroft run rings round them so easily. He must have seen them coming a mile off. Did they take any advice on the tax implications of being “resident” vs “permanently resident” vs “domiciled”?

  11. LabourWomensNetwork

    RT @Jessica_Asato: Tories say story on Ashcroft is "flogging a dead horse" Nope, I think it's very much alive.. http://bit.ly/bb73sy

  12. Steven M

    Awww bless the Tory blogosphere attack dogs (or should it be lap dogs?) attempts to deflect the growing issue of Ashcroft…

  13. Henry

    And I don’t think the legality of Mittal’s (or Lord Paul’s) donations are being investigated (very slowly) by the Electoral Commission.

  14. garageflower

    Hague should also be questioned about his trips to the Turks and Caicos Islands with Lord Ashcroft. The opposition leader in T & C recently wrote to David Cameron, and the letter was read out in Parliament. He asks for assurances that a future Conservative government would protect the Islands from Ashcroft interests, effectively labelling Ashcroft a threat to democracy. He is an extraordinarily controversial figure in the region.

    http://tcijournal.com/index.php?idsub=2067&id=8

    Moreover, given long-running concerns about his influence in the region, dating back to his effective lobbying of the Major govt on Caribbean tax policy, surely it is time for a brighter light to be shone on Ashcroft’s business activities in the region?
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/letter-reveals-how-the-tories-aided-ashcroft-1106397.html

  15. Politics Summary: Thursday, March 4th | Left Foot Forward

    […] foreign secretary “was kept in the dark” about Lord Ashcroft’s non-domicile status. Left Foot Forward has a video of Jeremy Paxman grilling Hague about Ashcroft’s tax affairs last […]

  16. Cameron knew Ashcroft tax status "in last month" | Left Foot Forward

    […] covered on this blog yesterday, Hague also told Jeremy Paxman in June, just nine months ago, that “I have no […]

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