Lord Michael Ashcroft discusses British politics

[Linked Image] While the British High Commissioner speculates on the outcome of the election, another peer discussed the elections last night on the British Broadcast Corporation (BBC). Lord Michael Ashcroft is the Deputy Chairman of the Conservative or Tory Party that has won the biggest number of seats in the elections, three hundred and seven. As part of the campaign strategy, Lord Ashcroft invested in areas not known to be home of Tory support where it is reported there was a swing to the Tories. In the BBC interview, Lord Ashcroft discussed his tax status, and his future in the Conservative Party.

Lord Michael Ashcroft, Deputy Chairman, Conservative Party

"Those debates changed the whole of the playing field and this is the type of result we're now seeing as a consequence of those debates."

Q: "Was it a mistake for the Conservatives to agree to these debates?"

Lord Michael Ashcroft

"It's a balanced argument in a way. It brought greater awareness of politics. We've seen a greater voter turnout tonight. There has been greater discussion as to what is going to happen over the next few days."

Q: "You sound like you regret it."

Lord Michael Ashcroft

"No. I think if you took a pure strategic hindsight view, I think you'd say you'd much preferred the Tories going into today ten points ahead, rather than three or four points ahead."

Q: "Now your job was to pump funds into the marginal seats and give the Tories a better chance of winning. Is there any evidence that strategy has worked?"

Lord Michael Ashcroft

"We've had some very significant swings in some of the marginals and some not. But some of the outer marginals, we've seen swings close to double figure percentages. So it's a mixed bag right the way across."

Q: "If your strategy for the marginal seats was a plus, was that not countermanded by the negative of all the controversy that surrounded you and your tax status?"

Lord Michael Ashcroft

"Well that's a good debate and I'm sure that that will continue, but I think it's a little academic now at this particular point."

Q: "Why didn't you clear it up long before the election?"

Lord Michael Ashcroft

"I think that's a matter that I took a view that one's tax status was a personal matter. However, that now becomes irrelevant in terms of the new law that has been passed. In fact whatever one's tax status if you wish to remain in the Lords, you are deemed taxed on your worldwide income. So that now remains a moot point and I don't think there is much mileage in going over that."

Q: "What will you do now. As I understand it, your party wants to change the law, so that if you are a non-dom you can't sit in the House of Lords. So are you going to sit in the House of Lords or give up your non-dom status?"

Lord Michael Ashcroft

"That's not correct Andrew, the law has already been passed, not about to be passed."

Q: "So what will you do?"

Lord Michael Ashcroft

"I shall look forward to be sitting in the Lords for many years to come."

Q: "So are you going to become a fully taxed person in Britain?"

Lord Michael Ashcroft

"If I remain in the House of Lords, I'll have to be as everyone will be."

Q: "And will you remain in the House of Lords then?"

Lord Michael Ashcroft

"I hope so, until the point of time when retirement takes me away."

Q: "If you stay in the Lords, would you like a job in the government if there is a Conservative Government?"

Lord Michael Ashcroft

"No, I've already said I'm stepping down from the party and I'd like to get back and develop my own commercial interests, which is my objective."


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