Lord Ashcroft, who is also the vice-chairman of the Party, said that he pays income tax on his earnings in the UK, but not on earnings elsewhere. However, he indicated that he will give up his non-domiciled status and bring all his financial affairs within the UK tax system if the Conservatives win power.
The announcement brought an immediate response from Labour activists, who have been challenging the Tory peer to make his status public for some time.
Speaking through an interpreter, former Deputy PM John Prescott said, "this is indisputabubbly the most importarantant of, and let me make this clear, definitely, as I said before, and in no uncertain terms, as I was saying, that he's a non-dom, let me finish, and much more importantly it is induspitabubble that, and let me be clear, as I believe I've said before, the nasty Tories would have someone who, and let me clarificable thisthuswise, would not pay or in the, no, you've had your say let me have mine, in the UK. Which I think makes things very clear."
Other Labour sources also attacked Lord Ashcroft's non-dom status. Communities Secretary John Denham waded into the debate, saying, "it is totally wrong that a non-dom should make payments to the Conservative Party. That money will be spent on the nasty things the 'nasty party' want to achieve, like election campaigning and beating us, which is nasty."
Mr Denham admitted that the Labour Party also relied on several non-domiciled donors including Sir Christopher Ondaatje (£1.7m), Lakshmi Mittal (£4.125m), Sir Ronals Cohen (£2.55m) and several others. However, he added, "non-dom donors to the Labour Party are totally different to non-dom donors to the Tories because . . .er . . .um . . give me a second . . .our non-doms only donate nice money to nice things. Honest. Like charitable funds for kittens, support for social development like Gordon Brown's leadership campaign* and Hazel Blears**, and other nice things. Like trades unions. No, not Unions. Oh, bugger."
* Lord Paul (£69,250 including £45,000 to Gordon Brown's leadership campaign). ** Mahmoud Khayami (£985,000 including £5,000 to Hazel Blears' deputy leadership campaign).
h/t Iain Dale for the numbers.