He has said that he will change this status next year - if the law is changed - but has (legally) escaped paying full UK taxes for many years. This seems in contrast to what the Conservatives told us back in 2000 when he became a peer. Then the message was that Lord Ashcroft would be resident in the UK for tax purposes. According to his statement today, that did not happen and is still not the case.
This matters because Lord Ashcroft is also a major funder of the Conservative marginal seats campaign. The Electoral Commission is currently investigating whether this funding has been legal and it would clearly be good for transparency if they reach a conclusion before the General Election.
So the questions to all six Conservative Candidates in Cornwall are these:
- Have you received any money or donations in kind from Lord Ashcroft or his company Bearwood Corporate Services Ltd since 2000?
- If so, are you happy to receive money from someone who has not been paying full UK tax?
- If the Electoral Commission rules that Lord Ashcroft and Bearwood Corporate Services Ltd were not entitled to donate to you, will you guarantee to repay the money received immediately and without quibbling?