Thursday, 4 March 2010

Payback time for Clwyd West Tories?

Following this week’s revelations about Conservative Party funding - the Tories’ major donor and deputy party chairman, Lord Ashcroft, is not domiciled in the UK for tax purposes – Plaid’s Llyr Huws Gruffydd has questioned whether the Clwyd West Conservatives intend to pay back the money they have banked from Ashcroft’s company. According to their accounts they have received a substantial five figure sum.

Llyr, who will be the Plaid candidate for Clwyd West in the forthcoming Westminster election, said:

“Despite their best efforts to portray themselves in a better light, we can see now that it’s the same old Tories. Clearly they are rife with hypocrisy and evasion, and, to cap it all, it has taken a very, very long time for them to admit that Lord Ashcroft is not domiciled here for tax purposes, and thus avoids payment of tax on a large part of his vast income.

“Their slogans about change are empty and meaningless. Whilst the rest of us are going to have to face cuts of one sort or another following the recession, leading Tories are busily avoiding tax, and in this case, donating massive amounts of money to their party.

“I believe that David Jones and his fellow Tories in Clwyd West should take a long look at themselves and decide whether it is ethical and proper to keep the money which this man channelled in their direction.”

Llyr Huws Gruffydd said that he was proud of the fact that Plaid Cymru works hard to raise its money through the membership:

“We are not under obligation to outside influences or funders who distribute largesse and then insist on a say in policy. I believe that Cameron and his cronies will find that Wales is not for sale.

“Unlike Lord Ashcroft, our hearts are here in our own country.”

According to a statement of accounts provided to the Electoral Commission, Bearwood Corporate Services made a donation of £15,000 to Clwyd West Conservative Association in 2005. Bearwood is the vehicle used by Ashcroft to pass funds to local Conservative associations. See page 5.

The home page of Ashcroft’s web site bears the legend: Belize - "If home is where the heart is then Belize is my home.”

Figures from the Electoral Commission show that Lord Ashcroft has donated more than £5million pounds to the Conservative Party to be used in key marginal seats to try and win the next election for the Conservatives.

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