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Nobody will be surprised that I thought "Wake Up and Smell The Coffee" was an excellent summarisation of what needed to be done!
Lord Ashcroft is one of the most loyal and generous friends to the Conservative Party and that is why Labour would love to do anything they could to bring him into disrepute. I believe however that Michael Ashcroft is a big enough man to survive any mud-fight.

I can't see how the Election Commission can even start an investigation. It just looks like they've been nobbled. As far as I know he is a British citizen not to mention being born a Commonwealth citizen which gives him the same rights to vote and donate as Lakshmi Mittal or Swaraj Paul have to Labour (both Indian nationals). The same can't be said for Labour donors Ronnie Cohen (Egyptian) and Mahmoud Khayami (French). More importantly the money Lord Ashcroft gives is through a company he owns which is based in Britain and advises on mergers and acquisitions.

I find it hilarious at the time how Labour claimed that Ashcroft would lower the standards of the Lords after everything we know now about cash for peerages, cash for laws and the way New Labour have stacked the Lords with lightweights.

"We can only hope that the Commission will reach a speedy conclusion and give Lord Ashcroft a clean bill of health".

Hear, hear! These parliamentary investigations seem to take for ever - and, as Doug points out, Labour is hardly in a position to cast the first stone in these matters.

Politics can be and often is a very dirty business, so Labour`s action is not surprising. As I am not a party member it doesn`t matter to me what he does with his money. I just hope the truth will come out and he hasn`t been bending the rules, which as we all know politicians have got off to a fine art.

I've been after him for a while, and the records of Bearwood are at the very least dubious. I passed information to the commission last year. The Tories should consider very carefully before accepting any more money from a man who gave his word to be resident in the UK for tax purposes in order to get a peerage, and now keeps very quiet about it. I'm guessing the results of the enquiry will appear just before the GE.

Personally I'm glad that this investigation is taking place. Judging from the reaction of the Conservative Party there is really nothing to fear.
Hopefully the double standards and lack of integrity of those Labour members who have been clamouring to nobble Ashcroft at the same time as they defend their own sordid funding arrangements will be exposed too.

" I passed information to the commission last year."

That's nice, Leftie! And you have the gall to come on here - a Conservative site - and tell us that you are behaving like a rather unpleasant little Nark!

Have you not even the sense to keep your dirty work quiet?

I hope and suspect it will all rather backfire in your face.

I'd just add this is verging on McCarthyism - just look at resident lefties comment. Lord Ashcroft has been hounded for 10 years now. He has had his government files leaked by Short and Straw to the papers. He has had the government (FCO) attempt to ruin his business. The government are a bunch of criminals no better than a tin pot dictator or the Mafia.

Labour have been trying to 'get' Ashcroft for over a decade now. I remember back in 1999 when then MP Peter Bradley was in conspiracy with The Times to discredit him duringthe Eddisbury by-election campaign.

This produced such earthshattering revelations and frontpage headlines 'exposing' him as SHOCK! A Tory!, HORROR! A Close friend of Both Thatcher AND Tebbit! DISASTER! A millionaire who lived in Belize! Where the story in such revelations actually was however, I couldn't tell.

I do remember that the Times did helpfully remind us that Belize is famous for a thriving drugs market during the same story without actually going so far as to link the two facts together. But I remember that the implication was clear.

The fact that Ashcroft has stood up to a decades long investigation into his conduct and has never once been shown to have done anything wrong, just goes to show what sort of man he is. And I'm sure this latest allegation will also be thrown out in due course.

Now I wonder how many Labour figures could stand up to a similar decade long campaign to blacken them?

Yes, I agree Sally, it is the sort of uh, uh,u-uh,uh, that you get in the schoolyard. Perhaps we cannot expect any better.

As Doug suggests @ 09.52 Labours rich donors (apart of course, from the TU's) might need more investigation!

This smacks of another spin, instigated by Mandelson, although of course some Labour backbencher - hoping to get Brownie points no doubt, agreed to be the 'whistle blower'.

Perhaps the TPA might know of some interesting statistics vis a vis Labours rich ex-pat donors!

I don't see why we should let this 'lie'! Whatever happens to Lord Ashcroft.

I am fine with an investigation into Lord Ashcroft's status and donations proved that there is a parallel and equally urgent investigation into those of Lord Paul.

In fact it is important the Ashcroft matter is settled.

Meanwhile there are such as Balls/Cooper, Smith and Flint to be dealt with. And also the Commissioner must issue a decision on the Caroline Spelman investigation which has been delayed for far too long.

Sadly I suspect it will end up being a kangaroo court. The reality is that a commission that can clear Labour snouters from any fault when it is clear they are taking bribes is not going to exhonerate our guys

This simply a tit for tat as the Conservatives have complained (via two stooges) about the Home Secretary claiming for the use of her sister's home. They are getting their own back and trying to deflect attention from their own shortcomings.

Now one aspect which gives me a wry smile is the whinge from some Labour MPs that Ashcroft is directing HIS money to the Marginal Seats where it can do most good.

Let's face it, there is little point in his donations being used in safe Tory seats such as Henley (Maj 10,116) or Beaconsfield( 15253) or no hope safe Labour ones e.g. Hemsworth (13481) or Rhondda (16242)rather than Crawley (37) or Harlow (97) which the Conservatives can win. I am sure that Labour do not waste their resources on more than a token campaign in the leafy shires but concentrate on those seats where elections are won and lost.

On this pernicious move by Labour to outlaw targeted donations to winnable seats the Conservative Party in Parliament must be steadfast in its opposition and not only fight this tooth and nail, no "Bi-partisan" deals via "the usual channels" please, but reverse any such move if it does become Law should they win the next General Election.

If the two criteria are first, that a company be registered in the UK and second that it is carrying on business, not dormant - then a straightforward Companies House search should settle the matter. So what's to investgate?

Exactly Tom.

I often feel that it is a very dangerous ploy to attack political opponents on such matters as funding and donations as they are sure to retaliate. Tories attack Jacqui Smith over the claim for using her sister's house, Labour then attack the Tories over Lord Ashcroft's donations. Now I feel the Conservative Party has far more to lose than Jacqui Smith/Labour.

Perhaps better to leave some stones unturned?

steve foley said..
"Perhaps better to leave some stones unturned?"

No, its better to turn over all the stones and see what is left afterwards.

I am with Mark Williams in leave no stone unturned. It would be the grossest stupidity on the part of Tory Party if anything unpleasant oozes out.
Where I may differ is that this time I really would go on the offensive to establish the reasons for this and if any hint of manipulation of Govt machinery for Labour Party ends is established, I would like to maximum penalties for the parties involved.
This administration stinks sleaze and graft wherever it goes and its favorite weapon of mass distraction is unsubstantiated allegations. It is destructive to the targets and corrosive to the political process.

I would be very disappointed if Cameron isn't cleaning things up behind the scenes. The complaint about Cameron and 'HIS' MPs is very important because there are older members of the party who are on the gravy train and who bring the entire party into disrepute. Either they do the right thing as 'independent' Tory MPs or Cameron should kick butt.

The Tories hardly said a word about Jacqui Smith. It's one thing everyone has been commenting about that they kept their heads down. But that never stops Labour MPs, the BBC and the Mirror continuing their smear job. Labour are wading up to their necks in sleaze and rather than take the tough decision to clean up they try to take all the other parties into the mud with them. They are very happy to foster and develop the anti-politics mood that drives people to the BNP.

Plus we should make a big fuss about the Union Modernisation Fund which is simply a laundering mechanism for tax payers money to end up in the Labour party's pockets.

There would be riots on the streets were the Electoral Commission to find any wrongdoing in Lord Ashcroft's financial arrangements. Most people in England revere Ashcroft as a hero for all his work in reinvigorating the Conservatives in marginal seats and would not look kindly on the Commission acting as some kind of kangaroo court just to do Labour's bidding.

Peter Bailey: "Most people in England revere Ashcroft as a hero for all his work in reinvigorating the Conservatives."

I wish that were true Peter. LOL.

Most people in England almost certainly haven't heard of Lord Ashcroft!

What would a company filing "small" accounts be doing giving away 20-30% of its maximum turnover and/or 1/3 to 1/2 of it's BS value if NOT acting as an agent for an offshore principal? NB Turnover, not profit.

Flying Lion is also obviously a shocking abuse of the concession on overseas donors funding travel costs. Intended to be funding travel costs to their own operations not to here, there and everywhere. A ramp.

"We can only hope that the Commission will reach a speedy conclusion "
Fat chance,they are still investigating ,years later,the £2.4 million impermissible donation from a non trading UK company to the LibDems,such company being run by a convicted crook

Adding to what Michael McGough just posted about Michael Brown and that donation to the Liberals – The Observer had an article on Sunday 7 September 2008 – headlined: “Lib Dems face court over funding - US lawyer Robert Mann is poised to sue, claiming that the party wrongly accepted £632,000 of his money as part of a gift from an expat financier”.

The main part of the article states:
“Mann, a Harvard-educated lawyer from Los Angeles, said that the Lib Dems failed to make adequate checks on Brown or the money and have since snubbed his pleas for its return. 'I am shocked that the Liberal Democrats, who run on a platform of total political accountability, would even consider not returning the funds,' he said. 'They have been on notice of this fact for several years. To continuously try to make excuses to avoid this responsibility is not the actions of an honourable political party. 'The voters in England should consider such conduct when they select their next political representatives. I am hopeful that the powers within the Liberal Democrats will decide to do the right thing both for me and the honour of Britain'.”

Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/sep/07/liberaldemocrats.partyfunding

If the Electoral Commission investigate Lord Ashcroft in a fair and impartial way, which I think they will, then Lord Ashcroft will be exonerated.

Labour and Times Newspapers both went after Michael Ashcroft a few years ago with the full weight of the government spin machine behind them. He sued the government, won the case, was awarded his costs, and an admission that the government had arranged for its employees to leak allegations to him about the media which were without foundation.

Having seen him survive that business, and noted how meticulous his work on the target seats campaign is, I just don't believe that there is any way he will have failed to keep himself within the letter of the law. Ashcroft knows Labour are out to get him and he will not have left himself vulnerable.

And as for people like "resident leftie" who can support the party which made Jackie Smith home secretary, Keith Vaz chairman of a parliamentary select committee, and Robert Maxwell an MP but still think they are in a position to complain about the conduct of anyone, else, I'd remind you of a few words from someone who put far more on the line for his principles than you ever have for yours. (I note you don't even have the guts to sign your post with your real name.)

"Take the plank out of your own eye before you try to take the speck out of your brother's eye."

Posted by: Sally Roberts | February 22, 2009 at 10:51

" I passed information to the commission last year."

That's nice, Leftie! And you have the gall to come on here - a Conservative site - and tell us that you are behaving like a rather unpleasant little Nark!

Have you not even the sense to keep your dirty work quiet?

I hope and suspect it will all rather backfire in your face.

Are you serious? Ashcroft is a great stain on the Conservative party - you would be better of without him. Any information I passed on was in the public domain. Do you really think that investigating the probity of a party funder is being a "nark"? There are others who can and will investigate the misdeeds of Labour politicians. Ashcroft is my particular bugbear.

If you had reasonable information that led you to believe that a Labour fund raiser had broken the rules, would you pass it on the Electoral Commission? I certainly hope you would.

I hope Cameron kicks him out before this boils over.

Well said Chris. But if I was 'Resident Leftie' I wouldn't have the guts to put my real name to many of my posts either. Would anyone?

The simple fact is that there is a law that must be obeyed. There is also a moral law and that raises the simple question of whether it is right for someone who does not pay UK taxes to have authority in the creation of UK laws. Thirdly, are not the days of Old Sarum and the rotten boroughs long past? Is it right that the abundant money of a powerful man should overide the wishes of a majority of electors in any constituency ? Should, for instance, a Russian billionaire "Buy" a constituency ? How would all parties respond to this ? It is time that we said clearly - our democracy is not for sale.

From Wales,another one who doesn't like to post under their real name.
You know that Ashcroft doesn't pay UK taxes do you?
Explain to me how the 'money of a powerful man should overide the wishes of a majority of electors in any constituency?'. How does that work?

Exactly, Malcolm! There is a lot of nonsense being talked here. Lord Ashcroft is not holding a gun to the head of the Electorate saying "You Vill Vote For Me Or Else...!"
This is a wealthy man who has dedicated much of his time and money to the Conservative cause - something he feels deeply about. I am quite sure if Resident Leftie was equally wealthy he would have no hesitation in donating time and money to the Labour Party or whichever cause is dearest to HIS heart!

The fact is that for the last ten years or so, Resident Leftie's chums have been conducting a McCarthy-ite witch hunt against this man and had failed to "bag" their target. One can almost understand their fury! However the fact is that I am quite sure this enquiry too will exonerate Lord Ashcroft and he will be able to carry on providing his wealth and expertise to the benefit of the Conservatives.

Most of you Tory people do realise that billionaire ex-Pats funding political parties is not ideal and that Bearwood and Flying Lion both sail uncomfortably close to the wind. When the boot is on the other foot, as it sometimes is, Tories will not hesitate to cry foul.

Bearwood appear to be an agent for Ashcroft. Flying Lion certainly are.

PS There's an unclosed italic out there somewhere. Damn those bloody I-talics.

How do you know that Bearwood and Flying Lion 'sail uncomfortably close to the wind' ? Whatever that means.
Congratulations on posting under your real name though. It makes a nice change for a lefty to come on this site and do that.

Posted by: Malcolm Dunn | February 23, 2009 at 07:52

Well said Chris. But if I was 'Resident Leftie' I wouldn't have the guts to put my real name to many of my posts either. Would anyone?

There are plenty of good reasons to remain anonymous, and plenty of anonymous commentators from all sides. While it is the editorial policy of this site to allow anonymous posting, I suggest that impugning people merely on that basis is unreasonable. I can assure that information passed on to the Commissioner was not done anonymously.

At the risk of reptition, if any Tory wants me to stop posting here, just email passin[email protected], and I will.

Sally said:
This is a wealthy man who has dedicated much of his time and money to the Conservative cause - something he feels deeply about. I am quite sure if Resident Leftie was equally wealthy he would have no hesitation in donating time and money to the Labour Party or whichever cause is dearest to HIS heart

I would have no objection to Ashcroft donating money to the Conservative party per se, it's his tax status, the size of donations, the influence he has bought and peerage which is the issue. He gave a personal assurance to William Hague that he would be resident in the UK for tax purposes, and was granted a peerage on that basis. He has embedded himself at the heart of the Tory party simply by buying his way in. I know there are voices on the right who agree with this view.

Passing Leftie,
your complaints will come to nothing I am sure.
Now can you explain to me that money paid to the Labour party from Union funds a while back, shall we call it £xxxxxxx's, appeared to be the exact same amount that got paid to said unions from the public purse at a later date to, so say, upgrade their IT/computer capability.

Seems to me the Labour party got money and it never cost the Unions.....

I am sure the likes of TPA, Wasting our Money, Guido & others must remember?

"At the risk of reptition, if any Tory wants me to stop posting here, just email [email protected], and I will."

Leftie, I've no objection to you posting here. I'd just be grateful if you would behave like a guest and not an invader!

This seems to be part of a concerted attack on tax havens which has followed the attack on the banking sector.
I lived in Belize a few years ago. At a time when the country was suffering from the effects of two hurricanes in successive years, the UK government under Clare Short was refusing the country any debt relief due to its blinkered, vindictive persecution of Michael Ashcroft. The FCO was actively trying to assist by digging up whatever dirt or innuendo it could. It is sad to see that they have still not given up, and it would be interesting to know how much this partisan vendetta has cost the UK taxpayer.

Sally, I've read carefully what I've written in this thread. It appears to me to be polite, on topic, and a reasonable contribution to this discussion. You may well be able to find other instances where I have abused my position, but I do not think this is one of them. For reference, here is the previous discussion on Ashcroft in which I participated:

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/torydiary/2008/10/a-time-for-bold.html

Leftie we will just have to agree to differ. Personally I think referring to someone as a "great stain" is pretty offensive!

I am certainly not afraid of anything an enquiry may uncover. I believe Lord Ashcroft has nothing to fear. On the other hand you and your chums fear him immensely and that is why you continue to pursue your witch hunt.

Now, Resident Leftie - how about answering Josephine's question? Like her I wait with bated breath for your response.

Personally Resident Leftie, I don't care whether you post here or not.If you are going to make allegations which you can't substantiate (ie whether Ashcoft pays UK tax or not) it would be more honourable to post under your real name as Boothroyd and Chris Paul do.But if you lack the courage to do that, do whatever you please. But do expect to be criticised for it.

Malcolm Dunn:
If you are going to make allegations which you can't substantiate (ie whether Ashcoft pays UK tax or not)

This is not the most important allegation, nor the one which is most interesting - it's the behaviour of BCS which is at issue. There is substantial evidence that it is not really a trading company, but instead a vehicle specifically set up for Ashcroft to fund the Tory party without paying tax.

We've discussed the Union funding of Labour at some length on other threads. When the topic arises again, I'll address it again. In summary, the government gives money both directly and indirectly to industry, and industry funds political parties. Likewise the unions, except the unions are composed of members who can chose, or not, to support the political levy.

Tories have long accused Labour of pouring Trades Union Funds into certain marginal seats. Similarly with any Tory donor - a sum of ,let us say, £30,000 can make a great difference to the funding of a campaign - literature, paid organisers etc. It can make all the difference between winning or losing a seat. I suggest that for one person to "buy" a seat in this way is totally undemocratic. Especially if he's suspected of not paying UK taxes.

Well Jones, I suggest you look up the word democracy and try and understand what it means. If people don't like your policies then no amont of money can 'buy' a seat as James Goldsmith found out in 1997.You also have no knowledge or evidence about Ashcroft's tax affairs.I suppose you didn't object to the Sainbury millions being given to the Labour party or that Tony Blair's underlings tried to sell peerages for cash to the party. But then of course double standards are a hall mark of the modern day Labour party aren't they.
Resident Leftie I could not care less what you think is interesting or uninteresting, the fact is you make a whole bunch of allegations which you have no idea whether they are true or not and have to hide behind a pseudonym when you do it.Not very honourable is it?
But I'm quite glad that the Electoral Commission is investigating this and feel that Lord Ashcroft will be exonerated as he was the last time sleazy Labour figures tried to smear him.

Much as one has to admire Michael Ashcroft's tireless support, financial and otherwise, for the Conservative Party over the years, would it not be better now to dump him. The trouble is a businessman like him with his Belize connections comes over as ever so slightly dodgy. Really he's not the sort of chap Cameron wants to kowtow to. The Tories need to be whiter than white. They don't need one of their major funders having complicated central American business links in the same way, for example, that they do not need their leader going off on yachts hired by ex coke dealers. It's all the same thing. Just rather grubby and implies that money is more important than decency. Why after the sleazy years of the early 1990s the party hasn't got its act together and become more respectable is completely baffling.

Another anonymous braveheart making rather ridiculous allegations which he/she has no idea whether they are true or not. Compared to Labour the modern day Conservative Party is a paragon of virtue. Wouldn't you agree 'dog biter'?

Labour leftie,
You said: Quote: “ We've discussed the Union funding of Labour at some length on other threads. When the topic arises again, I'll address it again.” Unquote (oh deary me diddums, am I being too tiresome and nit-picky for you?...)

I never mentioned “funding” you did – the public purse should not fund unions, workers fund unions. I was talking about payment to a union (s) for updating their IT/computers – that amount as I recall was the same amount paid out to the Labour Party. It seems wrong to me that the Labour Party gained and the Union(s) were not out of pocket thanks to the Public Purse. You never answered my question – like any good old comrade you are just ‘clouding’ the issue and trying not to answer.

While I am on the subject, what about the Labour party backing from the likes of Lakshmi Mittal, Ronnie Cohen and Swaraj Paul - several million £’s I believe….
Now they really are non-domiciled…….

Dog biter, what an angry nasty little 'comrade' you sound, have you never heard of perestroika?, never mind dear, I send you a X, and please, please watch your posterior, that dog may just turn on you.........

Posted by: Josephine | February 23, 2009 at 21:00

I don't know you, but you amuse me! You appear to be confusing a numerical coincidence with a scandal. There is nothing scandalous about goverment funding unions, any more than there is about governments funding industry. If you consider unions to be an unalloyed negative, or think neither unions nor industry should receive public funds I can understand why you think it's wrong, but it's certainly not scandalous.

To resident leftie:

I am delighted that I have brought a little light relief into your life. After all, someone like you who spends so much time investigating and tittle-tattling on people you do not like or agree with, must, without a doubt, feel lonely in your anonymous, sneeky stasi way -

Anyway to get to the point - "numerical coincidence" eh? So you agree this happened.

Actually I do not agree with you. This was payment to The Labour Party - not gov't - if the Unions could not afford to fund your party because they needed new IT equipment etc. then they should have kept their money - It was more than a coincidence sunshine, it was an expensive (to us the tax payer) sleight of hand. I guess you, like most labour persons view the public purse as bottomless.

Why have you ignored me about Mittal et-al?

Posted by: Josephine | February 24, 2009 at 01:02

Actually I do not agree with you. This was payment to The Labour Party - not gov't - if the Unions could not afford to fund your party because they needed new IT equipment etc. then they should have kept their money - It was more than a coincidence sunshine, it was an expensive (to us the tax payer) sleight of hand. I guess you, like most labour persons view the public purse as bottomless.

I'm obviously explaining myself rather poorly.

Governments give money to industry.
Governments give money to the Unions.

Industry funds political parties.
The unions, through the levy, fund political parties.

This can give opportunities for corruption, but there is no evidence for this in the case you cite.

Is that really too complex to understand?

I suggest you investigate the alleged misdeeds of any Labour donors yourself, or allow members of what you would no doubt refer to as the "Tory Stasi" to do it - Guido maybe, or any journalist. If you discovered through research that Mittal had been illegally funding the Labour Party, would you expose him?

" "Tory Stasi""

??? Something of an oxymoron, methinks?!!

To Labour Leftie

Dear oxymoron,
Ooh! "Tory stasi", rather a stupid analogy, got under your skin did I?, seems to me like many of your political ilk, you dish it out, but like any bully you just can't take it when reasonable questions are put back. I suggest you calm down dear, stop stamping your tootsies, take a deep breath, have a cup of tea, and perhaps answer my questions in a childish sarcastic manner.

I understand you alright, I may come from honest East End working class stock, but I went to a great grammar school (doesn't that stick in your comprehensive for all craw): I just do not agree with oiks like you justifying a so said (by you) coincidence. The public purse is not there to be used as a political/union prop. It is (simply put) for the good of country as a whole.

To Sally Roberts:

:-)))) well caught!
J

At the risk of belabouring a point (if you'll forgive the pun), I suggested that if you are going to refer to me as a member of the Stasi you might use "Tory Stasi" to (incorrectly) describe right wing journalists investigating Labour misdeeds. It would be equally stupid.

Again, you misunderstand - you might think it wrong for government to fund unions or industry, but it's not in itself corrupt.

It's seldom I have the privilege of being mauled by two Tory women simultaneously. It's like being slapped in the face with a pair of haddock.

As for comprehensives, the Tories brought them in, Thatcher as education secretary converted many grammar schools to comprehensives, more than any other before or since.

I am withdrawing. So, as for the rest - not tonight, Josephine!

"It's seldom I have the privilege of being mauled by two Tory women simultaneously. It's like being slapped in the face with a pair of haddock."

Resident leftie, you were saved, I nearly made it three Tory women yesterday. But put me down as a halibut.

resident leftie,
I accept your strategic withdrawal.
Just one point though, it was Labour who started the Comprehensive education ideaology. Conservative's inherited it.

Ashcroft well respected? I Wouldn't like to be the Conservative PPC for any ward near Watford next year…

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