Lord Ashcroft, the British Conservative party’s major donor, has admitted that while he is “permanently resident” in Britain he is not domiciled there for tax status. His admission comes a day before the information was due to be released under Britain’s Official Information Act.
Their Electoral Commission is also investigating whether the company vehicle Ashcroft has used to make his donations, Bearwood Corporate Services, is “actively trading” in Britain. If it is found that it is not, the Conservative party may have to repay donations totalling several million pounds.
Ashcroft visited John Key in New Zealand in his corporate jet before the last election. At the time, in response to reporters’ questions, John Key insisted that no donations had been made to the National Party.
Ashcroft’s admission comes at a time when the Conservative party is slipping in the polls as the UK election draws near. For the time being, the Conservatives are refusing to answer questions about what they knew about Ashcroft’s status before the admission.
This story has a way to run yet. Watch this space