James Forsyth

Why is it one rule for the shadow Cabinet and another for Ashcroft?

Why is it one rule for the shadow Cabinet and another for Ashcroft?
Text settings
Comments

The last Friday before Christmas is pretty much the perfect take out the trash day and the Conservatives have today published the Legg repayment details of the shadow Cabinet. The person who has had to repay the most is Liam Fox. But as Paul Waugh reports, Fox seems to have had a pretty decent defence. But a decision has been taken, as so often before in the expenses crisis, that the reputational risk to the party is so great that a member of the shadow Cabinet should return expenses money even if they have reasonable grounds not to.

You can say that this is a sensible strategic decision, it has certainly helped limit the damage to the party from the whole scandal. But it does make it all the more odd that Cameron is still prepared to put up with all the problems that stem from Ashcroft’s refusal to say whether he is domiciled here and resident and ordinarily resident here for tax purposes.

One imagines that a member of the shadow Cabinet whose financial affairs caused the leadership so many problems would be told to sort it out sharpish or risk losing his position. But it seems Ashcroft’s donations and campaigning knowledge put the deputy chairman into a different, more protected class to members of the shadow Cabinet.

 

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

Comments
Topics in this articleSociety