David Cameron is facing questions about how much he knew about Tory deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft's "non-dom" tax status.
The Conservative Party declined to say how long the Tory leader had known the peer had not been paying tax on his overseas earnings.
Lord Ashcroft, who has given millions of pounds to bankroll Tory campaigning in marginal seats, confirmed yesterday he was non-domiciled for tax purposes after years of speculation.
Mr Cameron suggested the move - which came as the peer was facing disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act - would allow the Tories to get on with the election campaign. FULL STORY...
COMMENT: Why Tories could not afford to fall out with their 'foul-weather friend'
By a sweet irony, it fell to the shadow schools secretary, Michael Gove, to lead the Tory party defence of Lord Ashcroft yesterday, after the peer ended a decade of speculation by confirming that he is not domiciled in the UK, writes the Guardian.
"I am delighted there has been a statement from Lord Ashcroft," Gove said as he laughed nervously. He chose his words carefully because he knows the dangers of crossing the peer; they had a run-in a decade ago when, years before becoming a shadow cabinet minister, Gove was a senior executive on the Times.
"Time after time, he evaded the question, squirmed in his seat and prevaricated," Ashcroft wrote of a performance by Gove on the Today programme in 1999 during the paper's feud with Ashcroft.
The sight of Gove defending a man who accused him of a "lamentable performance" highlighted the mixed feelings senior Tories have about Ashcroft, who has been a generous donor to the party for the best part of 20 years. FULL COMMENT...
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