Parliament & Politics: Tax Exiles - Ashcroft tax quiz urged by MPs

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The Independent Online
LABOUR MPS stepped up their pressure on Michael Ashcroft yesterday, calling for an Inland Revenue investigation into the Conservative Party treasurer's tax affairs.

Denis MacShane, the MP for Rotherham, urged Treasury ministers at Commons question time to order an inquiry into the tax affairs of the multi-millionaire businessman, who is one of the party's biggest donors. Mr Ashcroft, a tax exile living in Florida, is said to have donated pounds 2 million to the Tories over the past two years. He was refused a peerage in the Queen's Birthday Honours List on the advice of the all-party scrutiny committee.

Mr MacShane said: "Isn't one of the major problems in the whole tax revenue question those gentlemen who so arrange their affairs to avoid paying the taxes that is due in this country? Would you agree to commission the Inland Revenue to [investigate] Michael Ashcroft's tax arrangements?"

But, replying, Alan Milburn, the Treasury's Chief Secretary, said it would be inappropriate for ministers to get drawn into the tax affairs of any individual.

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