David Cameron faced MPs at Westminster for the first time today, since admitting he did benefit from shares in an offshore trust established by his father.
The Conservative prime minister defended the actions of his late father, while also clarifying that the publication of his tax return was not intended as a call for all MPs to do likewise.
Jeremy Corbyn responded aggressively, saying the PM was misleading the house and suggesting the ‘super rich’ are subject to a different set of rules to the rest of the UK.
Jeremy Corbyn said:
The Prime Minister’s statement is a masterclass in the art of distraction… There is now one rule for the super rich and another for the rest. I’m honestly not sure the Prime Minister fully appreciates the anger that is out there over this injustice.
Six years of crushing austerity… could have been avoided if the country wasn’t being ripped off by the super rich.
The Labour Party are the enemy of aspiration, the enemy of families who want to support each other.
As reported by the Mirror, Cameron had just revealed a three-pronged plan to attack offshore tax avoidance:
1) UK law enforcement will have powers to investigate the beneficiaries of firms in all tax havens, except Anguila and Guernsey who are yet to agree to the deal.
2) A criminal offence will be introduced for ‘corporations who fail to protect their representatives from criminally facilitating tax evasion.’
3) A government task force will also be introduced to crack down on tax evasion.
Following the announcment, it wasn’t just Corbyn who wanted to vent fury towards the PM.
Dennis Skinner, AKA the ‘Beast of Bolsover’, was ejected from the Commons for labelling Cameron ‘dodgy Dave’ and refusing to withdraw the comment.
Skinner said when addressed by the Speaker:
This man has done more to divide this nation than anybody else. He’s looked after his own pocket. I still refer to him as ‘dodgy Dave’.Advertisement
As reported by the Daily Mirror, the 90-minute debate on tax was brought to a close, but not without further controversy having been caused.
Sir Alan Duncan: if Cameron’s critics aren’t careful, we’ll end up with the House of Commons “stuffed with low-achievers”
— Michael Deacon (@MichaelPDeacon) April 11, 2016
Edward Leigh stands up by saying the right way to minimise tax avoidance by the rich is to abolish taxes for the rich. A point of view
— Tom Clark (@guardian_clark) April 11, 2016
Alan Duncan was reported by The Guardian as suggesting critics of Cameron were predisposed to criticising people with wealth.
The comment drew an angry response from other MPs.
Labour MP Caroline Flint commented:
It saddens me that he seems to suggest if you weren’t a millionaire you were a low achiever.Advertisement
Following Cameron’s comments that would-be Prime Ministers should also share their tax returns, numerous politicians did precisely that.
Perhaps a signal of his intentions, Boris Johnson made his records public. As reported by the Mirror, the Mayor of London earned a staggering £612,000 in taxable income.
Incredibly, £266,667 of that figure was earned from his weekly column in the Daily Telegraph, £224,000 in book royalties, and £143,000 for his work as mayor.
Chuka Umunna also published his return, while Labour leader Corbyn’s return revealed he had incurred a £100 late fee.
But, in contrast to other politicians, the MP for Islington had only made £1,850 over his salary for the year 2014-15.
It is all kicking off in Westminster!