Peter Hoskin

Any fallout that the Tories face over Ashcroft is of their own making<br />

Any fallout that the Tories face over Ashcroft is of their own making<br />
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Although the heat seems to be coming off Lord Ashcroft himself, attention is now rapidly focussing on the Tory leadership.  I mean, it was one thing when William Hague admitted that he didn't know about Ashcroft's tax status until a few months ago – but quite another when it emerges that David Cameron only found out "within the last month".  As I said in my last post, there seems to have been, at the very best, astonishing naivety on the part of the Cameron & Co.  They should have seen these problems coming months ago, and tried to defuse them then – rather than being forced on to the defensive, only weeks before an election.

They may yet get off lightly.  As I've said before, I'm not convinced that this story will make many waves with the public, and there's certainly a heavy element of hypocrisy on the part of Labour and others trying to make political capital out of it.  But voters aren't the only people who may or may not be influenced by the whole affair.  There were already a bunch of Tory MPs grumbling about "double standards" and Cameron's Sunlight brand of disinfectant before today.  Now, you can expect those grumbles – rightly or wrongly – to get a little louder.