Lord Ashcroft has confirmed he is not domiciled in the UK. His status has been in dispute since he became a life peer in 200.
Since that time he makes clear he has been UK tax resident, but as a non-domiciled person this means that he would have only been obliged to pay tax in the UK on his UK source income and gains and his overseas income and gains remitted here.
He seeks to deflect attention from the issue by noting that at least one Labour peer has been in the same position. The difference is that the peer in question admitted it.
The issue for the Tories is threefold. First, there remains an open enquiry into the legitimacy of contributions made to the Tories by companies widely reported to be Under Lord Ashcroft’s control. The matter is unresolved: there is little more to say on it.
Second, there is the question of the obfuscation that other Tories have undertaken on this issue. Questions about their judgement in doing so have to be raised.
Third, questions must now be asked about whether when, as Lord Ashcroft and I presume Lord Paul, become domiciled in the UK after the next election those offshore tax avoidance structures they may have set up before becoming domiciled will be allowed to stand, affording them continued favour when compared with UK people who have been domiciled throughout their lives. I can see no way in which a level playing field is created unless such arrangements, if they exist, are laid aside. Only full disclosure can ensure that this happens. We have a long way to go before I can imagine that happening.