This time, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry – or cry laughing!
William Hague – a former leader of the UK Tories says, with a straight face, that he didn’t know until recent months that “Lord” Ashcroft: had renegotiated the terms under which took up his place in the House of Lords.
In 2000 Hague suggested that Ashcroft would become a full UK taxpayer when he took his seat in the Lords. But this week Ashcroft revealed that he has been a non-dom for the last 10 years, after a deal was agreed at the time his peerage was awarded.
In the Radio 4 debate, Hague was asked if the “first he had known” of the arrangement was when Ashcroft revealed it on Monday.
Hague said: “Well I knew in advance of that.” Robin Lustig, the presenter, pressed Hague on exactly when he had found out. Hague replied: “Over the last few months I knew about that and of course I was keen to support him then in making his position public.”
In 2000 Ashcroft offered Hague, who was then Tory leader, a “clear and unequivocal” assurance that if Ashcroft was granted a peerage he would be a permanent resident in the UK by the end of that year. That letter was passed to the House of Lords appointments committee, which was scrutinising his nomination.
Even for a Tory, 10 years not knowing something must be a record?
But his assurance that he didn’t know is OK, he didn’t know so all is fine. We have to trust the Tories because they are the party of change, of transparency, of bringing the government to account.
Unless, like me, you understand that the Tories are full of shit!
There is, not yet at least, any proof that Hague knew that Ashcroft was not 100% open with him. Will we find out nearer to the election?
Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, was speaking during a debate at Chatham House organised by the World Tonight with the foreign secretary, David Miliband, and the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, Ed Davey. After the debate Hague left last and by the back door, to avoid reporters gathered outside.
Speaking immediately after the debate, Davey told the Guardian: “There are two questions we now need to know. How long is a few months? Because he has been going round on the record defending Ashcroft’s status and secondly, when and what visits were made with, and paid for by, Ashcroft.”
Oh, does this mean he deliberately avoided the press? Skulking out without saying a word? Not a Tory, they would never do that, surely! Not this, the New Tories, the party of change!
Hague became central to the row after the Guardian published details of letters between him and then prime minister Tony Blair from 1999 and 2000.
Well that’s a few months ago – what is everyone’s problem!? Tut!
Remember – we have to trust the Tories, they are no longer the party of sleaze! No longer the party that would do anything underhand just to get into power – they are not working for the multinationals, they are working for the British people, and the British people alone! We must trust them because The Sun says we should. For The Sun I think you should read Murdoch. And as we know, he has Britain’s interests at heart!
Let’s welcome the Tories into power with not one jot of cynicism.