Several news outlets, including politics.co.uk, are reporting that David Cameron has come under fire in the last few days over apparent hypocrisy in his handling of the tax avoidance scandal.
Members of the opposition, including Labour’s John Mann, have suggested that Cameron is acting inconsistently.
Mann said: “This is hypocrisy pure and simple.
“What is good enough for Jimmy Carr is good enough for his advisers, his donors and his family. We look forward to seeing him act consistently.”
Cameron called comedian Jimmy Carr’s tax avoidance “morally wrong” while the upper echelon of the Tory party and Cameron’s own family are involved in similar schemes:
- Cameron’s father is said to have used tax havens such as Panama City and Geneva to build up the family fortune, of which Cameron was a beneficiary in his inheritance
- Cameron’s father-in-law is reported to have a holiday home on a Scottish island which is owned by a company registered in the Bahamas
- Fellow cabinet members, including Andrew Mitchell, Philip Hammond, Jeremy Hunt and George Osborne (who has a £4 million trust fund), are also being accused of dodging tax using legal means
Given Cameron’s grandstanding last week on the subject of Jimmy Carr’s involvement in the K2 scheme, he has opened himself and colleagues up to this type of scrutiny by both the press and members of the opposition.
It will be interesting to learn of any other revelations that will be released in the coming weeks, and whether or not the government is going to offer comment on the rest of the £4.5 billion the country is losing on tax.
If Cameron believes Carr’s involvement in tax avoidance is morally wrong, what does he think of his father’s use of laws set up by Margaret Thatcher in 1979 which opened up the possibility of holding funds offshore?
Does Cameron believe that Conservative supporter and OBE holder Gary Barlow, also reportedly under investigation for a tax avoidance scheme, is “morally wrong”? If so, why has he singled out Jimmy Carr?
When asked a similar question during a press conference last week, Cameron told reporters: “I am not going to give a running commentary on different people’s tax affairs. I don’t think that would be right.
“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.”
What Cameron neglected to mention is that the stories on Carr and Barlow broke on the same day, so there doesn’t seem to be any reason to mention one and not the other.