Letter: Ashcroft taxing for Allen
Tory candidate Karen Allen misses the real concerns many people have over the Conservative Party funding, courtesy of multi-millionaire Michael Ashcroft (Have Your Say, March 15). The secrecy behind which the Tories sought to shroud the issue; why it took ten years for the tax abroad Lord to come clean over his tax status, especially as both William Hague and David Cameron had been dodging answering the questions. Is it more than coincidence that Ashcroft spilled the beans only just before the information was going to be made public anyway?
Any ambiguity could have been cleared up to everyone’s satisfaction if Ashcroft and other senior Tories had agreed to be interviewed in person by the Electoral Commission. Instead they refused to comply with the Electoral Commission’s requests and stayed away, much to the Commission’s frustration.
Indeed, rather than the ‘clean bill of health’ that Karen Allen claims, the conclusions of the Electoral Commission’s report read more like the Scottish law verdict of ‘not proven’ than a resounding not guilty.
The suspicion that the Tories find the whole episode an embarrassment and want the story to go away was further strengthened when Tory MPs boycotted the standards inquiry into the Ashcroft peerage.
From the saddle of her moral high horse Karen Allen points to Labour’s non-dom peers, but the ‘they did it so can we’ defence sounds like the politics of the trough, not a party with a ‘clean bill of health’ laying claim to electoral propriety.
Published in the Shields Gazette today. With some editing.