Carr apologises for 'error of judgement' as PM is accused of hypocrisy over tax comments

 

Under fire comedian Jimmy Carr today issued an apology for what he called a 'terrible error of judgement' as the row over his tax avoidance embroiled the Prime Minister in a hypocrisy row.

Writing on the social networking site Twitter Carr posted a statement saying he was no longer involved with the controversial K2 tax shelter.

Although the tax scheme was declared to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Carr has been heavily criticised after it was revealed that he was the biggest beneficiary of the process which protects money from tax in Jersey.

It is thought the off-shore scheme could allow the comedian to pay as little as 1 per cent income tax.

The Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking during a visit to Mexico, waded into the row over tax avoidance yesterday condemning Mr Carr's use of the off-shore scheme as “morally wrong”.

However the PM himself was accused of hypocrisy today after he declined to criticise Take That singer and Conservative supporter Gary Barlow, who has been accused of using a complex scheme to avoid paying millions.

"I am not going to give a running commentary on different people's tax affairs. I don't think that would be right," the premier said at a press conference in Downing Street.

"I made an exception yesterday because it was a very specific case where the details seemed to have been published and it was a particularly egregious example of an avoidance scheme that seemed to me to be wrong and I made that point."

Mr Cameron also said the "rules of the road" on tax were clear.

However, some politicians accused the PM of hypocrisy over his statements.

Shadow leader of the house Angela Eagle questioned Mr Cameron's decision to speak out about Carr's tax arrangements while remaining silent about those of other high profile figures.

She said: "Oddly, (Mr Cameron) did not take the opportunity to condemn as morally repugnant the tax avoidance scheme used by Conservative supporter Gary Barlow, who has given a whole new meaning to the phrase Take That.

"If he is also morally repugnant, why has he been given an OBE in the Birthday Honours?

"Why is the Prime Minister's view of what's dodgy in the tax system so partial? Sir Philip Green has interesting tax arrangements but far from being labelled morally repugnant in a Mexico TV studio, he has got a Government review to head up."

Carr, who has 2.3m followers on Twitter, today issued a statement in a series of messages on the social networking site Twitter, he said,

“As this is obviously a serious matter. I met with a financial advisor and he said to me 'Do you want to pay less tax? It's totally legal'. I said 'Yes'.”

“I now realise I've made a terrible error of judgement.

“Although I've been advised the K2 Tax scheme is entirely legal, and has been fully disclosed to HMRC.

“I'm no longer involved in it and will in future conduct my financial affairs much more responsibly. Apologies to everyone. Jimmy Carr.”

Carr Crash:  A comedian dogged by controversy

The 39-year-old Cambridge educated comedian Jimmy Carr has often been in the headlines thanks to his vicious on-stage quips and near-the-knuckle gags.

Carr hit the headlines in 2006 after he joked on the weekly BBC Radio 4 show Loose Ends that gypsy women smell.

The comic told listeners: “The male gypsy moth can smell the female gypsy moth up to seven miles away - and that fact also works if you remove the word 'moth'.”

After criticism from the Gypsy Council the BBC was forced to issue an apology.

In 2009, he again flirted with controversy after a photograph apparently taken inside a court building appeared on his Twitter account.

The picture was posted after the star faced speeding charges at Sudbury Magistrates' Court, in Suffolk.

Police later said no offence had been committed.

Later the same year Carr was again forced to back down after a joke about injured soldiers.

The 8 Out Of 10 Cats presenter drew criticism when he told an audience at the Manchester Apollo: “Say what you like about servicemen amputees from Iraq and Afghanistan, but we're going to have a f***ing good Paralympic team in 2012.”

He later admitted he felt “terrible” about the offence caused.

Last year he again sparked criticism after cracking jokes about handicapped children.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own