My good friend Pendle MP, Gordon Prentice must be hopping mad. He has every right to be angry with Jack Straw.Writing in The Independent, Jack Straw predicts the Tory campaign will be the most lavish in political history and denounces Mr Cameron for relying heavily on cash supplied by the party's deputy chairman, Lord Ashcroft, who has extensive business interests in Belize.
Surprise! Surprise! Where have you been Jack? Gordon Prentice lodged a Freedom of Information request with the Information Commissioner 20 months ago to find out the nature of the undertaking Michael Ashcroft gave when he was being considered for a life peerage and to whom that undertaking was given.
The Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, has now said he hopes to decide the matter by the end of January. Last week Gordon Prentice said, “ Until the Zac Goldsmith revelations I thought it inconceivable that an MP or someone seeking election to the Commons could be a non dom. There have always been suggestions that some peers were non doms."
Jack Straw fought to deny Prentice’s energetic attempts to outlaw non-doms. Gordon has tabled an amendment to the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill to force disclosure of the names of Members of Parliament who are not UK residents for tax purposes. There has been speculation ever since his ennoblement nine years ago that Lord Ashcroft is, or has been in one or more tax years since 2000, a non-domiciled person enjoying favourable tax treatment.
Jack Straw could and should have acted earlier. Already up to £100,000 of Ashcroft gold has been spent in individual marginal constituencies. The horse has bolted Jack.
Taxation Status of Hon Members
This House believes that members of both Houses of Parliament should be domiciled and ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom; notes that the Government is to bring forward a draft House of Lords Bill which will include provisions to exclude peers who are non domiciled from sitting in that Chamber; nevertheless believes that this timetable is too leisurely and deals only with the Lords and takes the view that the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill, which has already had its Commons second reading, provides a better vehicle for making an early change to the law in this respect and calls on the Government to table its own amendments which would prevent non domiciled persons from serving in Parliament and require existing Members to certify that they have been resident in the UK for tax purposes in each year since 2000
Gordon Prentice MP David Taylor MP Paul Flynn MP
Why trust pundits?
Crawling all the media has been a spokesman for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). He said that next year would be better for jobs than 2009 had been, but that the jobless total would continue to rise at least until the summer, peaking at 2.8m. The latest available figures showed that unemployment hit 2.49m in October.
None of the interviewers I saw asked the spokesman why he forecast earlier in the year that unemployment now would be £.2 million. How inaccurate to these forecasts have to be , before the pundit is discredited?