The Thick of It


Thursday, March 04, 2010

William Hague's pals: Ashcroft and Black

The continuing furore over Lord Ashcroft's tax status and his funding of the Tory election campaign has left William Hague "exposed". It should also be stacked alongside his other high profile recommendation for a peerage: Conrad Black, who is in jail for fraud.

Hague judgement is facing serious questions not least because even recently he denied knowledge of Ashcroft's tax status, which he has now admitted to knowing. Hague has also claimed that it was not his business to question Ashcroft about his tax. This doesn't stand up when set against Hague's prediction that AShcorft's "move" to the UK would bring in "tens of millions of pounds a year” in tax revenue. Former Cabinet Secretary Lord Tuyrnbull has criticised Hague for saying that "that this was the real deal. It turns out that Ashcroft is being economical with the truth and that Hague fell for it".

Hague has seemingly lied about his knowledge of Ashcroft's tax status very recently. He has protected an ally who has consistently backed the him and also the Tory party when they were at a very low ebb, post 1997. The political capital of continuing to back Ashcroft is now running out. If this story continues to run it will stain any Tory victory and if that happened, they would enter office with suggestions of sleaze already hanging over them.

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