Nicola Sturgeon on #PigGate: Look beyond “lurid” stories to Lord Ashcroft tax scandal


First minister calls on David Cameron to answer allegations regarding his knowledge of tory donor’s tax status

FIRST MINISTER Nicola Sturgeon has said that David Cameron must answer allegations made in the Daily Mail’s serialisation of Lord Ashcroft’s new book that Cameron was aware of Ashcroft’s non-domiciled tax status earlier than he had initially admitted to the public.

Speaking after the publication of a raft of sensational allegations about Cameron, Sturgeon urged people to “put aside all of the lude and salacious allegations” and focus on the issue of Ashcroft’s tax status while he was Conservative party treasurer and a chief party donor, and the allegation that Cameron knew about this status in 2009.

Quoted in The Herald she said: “This is a serious allegation and the prime minister has a duty to respond to it.

“This is an allegation among many allegations that David Cameron really has to address directly; it’s important that this allegation, that he knew more about Lord Ashcroft’s non-dom status than he had previously said he did, is not lost in the more lurid and humorous allegations that many people are talking about,” she added.

Ashcroft alleges that his own non-domiciled tax status, which meant that he did not pay tax on overseas earnings, was known by Cameron in 2009. Cameron claims he only became aware of it a month before the 2010 election.

Ashcroft donated millions of pounds to the Conservative party between 1997, when they suffered a landslide defeat at the hands of Tony Blair’s New Labour, and 2010 when Cameron began his first term as prime minister at the helm of a Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition. He held posts as both party treasurer from 1998 and as deputy party chairman from 2005.

The sensational allegations, published in the Mail, include that Cameron was a member of a Cannabis-smoking club at Oxford and that he also inserted “a private part of his anatomy” into a dead pig’s mouth as part of an initiation ritual into an elite dining club while a student.

Cameron and Ashcroft had once been politically close, but their relationship deteriorated after Cameron failed to deliver on a promise to award Ashcroft an important position in government after the 2010 election, Ashcroft has claimed.

Downing Street has refused to comment on Ashcroft’s claims.

Picture courtesy of Policy Exchange