Would the Tories kick Lord Belize Ashcroft out of the Upper Chamber?

by Stephen Tall on February 10, 2009

Over at the Mirror’s Kevin Maguire & Friends blog, Jason Beattie asks if the Tories are on the point of reversing their U-turn, and supporting a Lib Dem motion obliging anyone who sits in the House of Lords to be a UK resident for tax purposes:

This may seem like an obscure requirement but it could mean Lord Laidlaw (a Tory) Lord Paul (Labour) and possibly Lord Ashcroft (a Tory who has never come clean about where he pays his taxes) face being kicked out of the Upper House. When this bill was first introduced by the Lib Dem Lord Oakeshott last year it was warmly welcomed by the Tories.

The Conservative leader in the House of Lords, Lord Strathclyde, an a man almost as well upholstered as the red benches on which he sits, told the Mail on Sunday: “If legislation is brought forward to ensure that UK legislators pay taxes in this country, then my party will support it.” And so they did, for about a week. Tory peers then placed so many wrecking amendments they almost killed the bill.

But Lord Oakeshott did not give up. The Bill is now back in the Lords and, to everyone’s surprise, Mr Cameron is now indicating he will support it. The bill is “not a bad idea” and “I’m happy to see that Bill progress,” he said this morning.

M’Lord Oakeshott remains suspicious, wise chap – or so reports Jason:

He wants to see whether Mr Cameron’s words translate into a firm commitment in the division lobby. A reasonable position given how quickly the Tory support evaporated the last time.