Conservative sighs of relief as their deputy chairman’s donations are ruled “legal and permissible” will be premature as the Tories have sustained a double blow on Ashcroft in the last hour. Not only will the peer be hauled before the Public Affairs Select Committee (chaired by the incisive Tony Wright) but Cathy Newman’s revelation that Cameron only knew of Ashcroft’s non-dom status “within the last month” has been picked up by the rolling news monster, with Laura Kuenssberg stating “there is still potency in this … it ain’t over by any stretch of the imagination”.
With Channel 4 News citing pollsters this week as saying “the daily relelations risk reinforcing suggestions that the Conservatives are a party for the rich, out of touch with reality”, this is only the latest misstep in a series of unforced errors on the part of the Conservative campaign, with The Spectator saying that “there are clear signs of, at best, Tory naivety in this whole affair”.
Hague’s first line of defence, that Ashcroft had kept him in the dark about his non-dom status, is looking pretty flimsy given that this is precisely what Yorkshire’s finest did to his party leader – for several months!
Enjoy these media images from the last 18 hours …