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 …

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  2. Here is an extract from a David Cameron interview with Andrew Marr on the 2nd December 2007:

    “ANDREW MARR: What about Lord Ashcroft? Because it was promised by the former party leader, William Hague, and indeed by Lord Ashcroft, way back, that he would be registered in this country, and a lot of people feel that he’s not properly registered in that way. Are you absolutely happy and satisfied that he is in a position to be making the kind of funding commitment to your party that he is?

    DAVID CAMERON: I am satisfied that the undertakings he gave are being met and I have had reassurances on that. But I would like to put it in context.

    ANDREW MARR: Being met, but haven’t been met.

    DAVID CAMERON: No, in terms of the reassurances that he is resident in the UK and pays taxes in the UK. But the point, the point I would like to make, if you look at the last year actually Mittal and David Sainsbury have given more money to the Labour Party than Lord Ashcroft has given to the Conservative Party. So, I think people get his importance out of all, you know, relative significance.”

    Source: BBC Andrew Marr:

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  5. Same old clueless Tories…. how are you meant to pay off a deficit if people don’t pay tax?

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