UPDATE 22:04 More dirt: he’s now been accused of “systematic tax avoidance”. It’s on Sky News too!

Much kudos to James Cowley and Chris Paul, who have dug up this David Cameron/Andrew Marr exchange from 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.

If, as widely reported, Cameron only found out that Ashcroft was a non-dom last month then whoever gave these reassurances was, at a very generous best, using Michael Gove’s misleading “resident but non-domiciled” dodge with the Tory leader or, at worst, lying to him.

That the Tories admit that they’ve been operating some form of “don’t ask, don’t tell” regime at the highest level of their party is damaging enough and underscores how dire the alternative case is: that they’ve been telling everyone porkies for ten years.

For someone, somewhere, this is drifting rapidly into resignation territory.

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  16. I think Dave fails on transparency and change.

    Same old nasty Tories – cut benefits whilst the power behind the throne doesn’t even pay tax.

    Anyone mentioned Zac Goldsmith lately?

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  27. Two things:

    1. You may have misinterpreted the quote. It is in weasel. Marr says “haven’t been met” and Cameron agrees: “No” (they haven’t been met). He had already said “are being met” which translates from the weaselish to “he’s thinking about it”. Whta he did in fact was trade down from “permanent” to long-term” when this status was invented in 2008.

    2. I listened to that interview live at the time and blogged about it soon afterwards. It was clear to me that Cameron was admitting that eight years after his agreement Ashcroft was at best reassuring people that he was still considering taking steps.

    3. James dug this up from my tweets. I first tweeted this interview FOUR DAYS ago and James finally gave me some kind of tweeted hat tip three or four hours later, having blogged it without having mentioned his source.

    4. Clearly unaware of the real source you give James the kudos. I must confess that even in this great collective endeavour of ours I’m old-fashioned about credit where credit is die and I was not best pleased to be uncredited.

    Here’s what I commneted at James’ site:

    Thanks for Twitter acknowledgement James. Several hours after the fact. But better than nowt. Really a “hat tip” in the post would be better. I blogged that interview AT THE TIME, and first tweeted a reminder about it four days ago http://twitter.com/ChrispLOL/statuses/9772251360. PSBook is also giving you the credit for spotting this which, even in our collective enterprise, is rather galling I must admit.

  28. Thanks for adding the link. The only reassurance that Cameron had received was that commitments “are being met” not that they have been met. He is speaking fluent weasel. I have a good ear for this. When Marr says “haven’t been met” Cameron says NO meaning YES!!! I will stick the whole VT up in a bit. Lots of Cameron being snooty about the Abrahams donations issue. Which as you will recall was a case of an eligible donor using other eligible donors as intermediaries in a bizarre attempt to hide his identity, even though he was a grandstander in many cases. Also Cam muttering nonsense about the Trade Unions.

    Don’t have time to just edit down to the particular sequence but no doubt others can do that. It’s very quick. But I do think it’s very clear what Cam was saying despite his attempt to gloss over it.

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