Huhne on Hague / Ashcroft: “guilty of a cynical cover-up for a shabby decision”

by Stephen Tall on March 18, 2010

LDV reported earlier this morning on the BBC story that leaked Cabinet Office documents suggest Tory shdaow foreign secretary William Hague was aware of, and approved, the terms of the deal under which Lord Ashcroft gained his place in the upper house.

In an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning, Mr Hague was forced to concede he had made a “mistake” when he said that Lord Ashcroft’s promises upon becoming a peer would have cost him “tens of millions of pounds” with its clear implication that Lord Ashcroft would end his non-dom status when he became a peer of the realm.

As Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb immediately tweeted:

Interview with Hague was incredible! He has to go! And did Cameron really not know until a few weeks ago?

And Lib Dem shadow home secretary Chris Huhne has issued the following statement also calling on Mr Hague to quit or be sacked:

William Hague promised the Prime Minister that before Lord Ashcroft received his peerage he would pay “tens of millions” in British tax, but then never even checked whether the promise was kept. He has treated the taxpayer with total contempt.
 
“It is utterly unbelievable to say, as William Hague did this morning, that he was not aware of the tax implications of these negotiations that dragged on for four months when he was kept informed by his closest loyalist, the Chief Whip.
 
“Mr Hague is guilty of a cynical cover-up for a shabby decision which has cost British taxpayers more than £100 million.
 
“William Hague is not fit for any role in Government, let alone that of Foreign Secretary. Lord Ashcroft must now meet his £100 million tax bill.”

This story isn’t over yet.