Tag Archives: Ed Miliband

Miliband claims victory after Fink drops threat to sue over tax avoidance claim


Ed Miliband claimed a partial victory in the battle over Britain’s wealthy tax avoiders after former Conservative party treasurer Lord Fink abandoned his threat to sue if Miliband repeated a claim that he avoided tax.

Lord Fink, who had demanded an apology on Wednesday when Miliband first made the allegation in the Commons, admitted yesterday he had been involved in “vanilla” tax avoidance measures including transferring shares he held into family trusts in Switzerland.

Fink added “everybody does tax avoidance”, telling the Evening Standard: “The expression tax avoidance is so wide that everyone does tax avoidance at some level. I didn’t object to his use of the word ‘tax avoidance’. Because you are right: tax avoidance, everyone does it.”

Fink added that he rejected expert advice that he could save a fortune in tax by adopting more “aggressive” measures. “What I did was at the vanilla, bland, end of the spectrum.”

He said he “used the opportunity … to set up some simple family trusts” while on a four-year posting to Switzerland and had transferred some shares to his children and his wife. “My family and I paid tax on all the dividends, both in Switzerland and the UK. They were done because my children were under 18 and I wanted them to have something to help them make their way in the wider world.”

Fink’s morning retreat allowed an emboldened Miliband, speaking about education at Haverstock School in north London on Thursday, to say: “Yesterday a Conservative donor challenged me to stand by what I said in the House of Commons. I do.”

Miliband said: “I think that this is a defining moment in David Cameron’s leadership of the Conservatives because it is now revealed that he appointed a treasurer for his party that boasts about engaging in tax avoidance and thinks it is something that everyone does.

“I don’t think that is the view of most people, and of the country. I think it does say something about the Conservative party so the question for today is does David Cameron agree with Lord Fink and does he sanction his attitude?”

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After Miliband spoke, and in a sign that the Tories wanted to cool the controversy, Fink made no further threat to sue Miliband. Instead he said, in a statement released on his behalf by the Conservative party, that it had been the Labour leader who had backed down by denying he had ever intended to imply he was a dodgy donor, a phrase used by Miliband under privilege in the Commons.

In the statement, Fink said: “Yesterday I challenged Ed Miliband to repeat the accusations he made in the Commons that I used an HSBC bank account to avoid tax and that I was a ‘dodgy’ donor. He did not.

“This is a major climbdown by a man who is willing to smear without getting his facts straight.”

But in Fink’s original letter on Wednesday, in which he demanded an apology from Miliband, the peer made no objection to the phrase ‘dodgy donor’, providing some cover for claims made by Labour aides that he had not retreated.

Miliband said he had not been referring to Fink as a dodgy donor, adding: “The thing he, Fink, objected to – until his extraordinary U-turn 24 hours later – was me saying that he was engaged in tax-avoiding activities.”

He said that he had made “a general comment about dodgy donors in the Conservative party and I totally stand by that comment”.

The Labour leader was also forced to defend his own tax arrangements after it emerged he had used a deed of variation, a tax efficient arrangement that allowed him and his brother, David, to take a share of their family home in Primrose Hill, north London after his father’s death in 1994.

He said: “This is something my mother did 20 years ago – a decision she made. I paid tax as a result on that transaction and I have avoided no tax. No doubt the Conservative party wants to smear mud but frankly it is not going to work. The story has been written before and I paid tax on that money.”

On a day that probably went better for Miliband than had at first seemed likely, the Conservatives tried to hit back by claiming a Labour aide had likened the battle over HSBC to the “Milly Dowler moment,” a phrase first mentioned by BBC political editor Nick Robinson in a blog.

However, later Robinson said that had been his phrase, not that of a Labour aide. A Labour official said the aide had argued that phone hacking and the treatment of Milly Dowler had been a moment that had crystallised people’s attitude to some newspaper reporting, and the HSBC scandal was having the same effect on tax avoidance.

Evan Harris, associate editor of Hacked Off, said: “There is nothing to criticise about politicians, their aides or journalists comparing a scandal of endemic tax avoidance – that they and the country feel strongly about – with the historic break that all party leaders claimed to have made from inappropriate and corrupting relationships with powerful newspaper editors and owners after the Milly Dowler hacking came to light.”

Cameron’s hope that the wider HSBC scandal will dissipate were also dealt another blow when the Treasury select committee said they would be calling both HMRC and HSBC officials to give evidence.

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Labour must come clean on spending plans soon, Darling says in warning economy could ‘bump along the bottom’ for a decade.


British Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair D...
British Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling (L), French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde (C) and U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (R) talk after their G-7 meeting at the Istanbul Congress Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Gordon Brown at the Labour Party Conference 2008
Gordon Brown at the Labour Party Conference 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ed Milliband MP speaking at the Labour Party c...
Ed Milliband MP speaking at the Labour Party conference. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Alistair Darling, British politician ...
English: Alistair Darling, British politician and Chancellor of the Exchequer. Français : Alistair Darling, homme politique britannique et Chancelier de l’Échiquier. Español: Alistair Darling, político británico y Ministro de Hacienda del Reino Unido. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Former Chancellor Alistair Darling today warned Labour leader Ed Miliband he must come clean with voters about his spending priorities before the end of this year.

In a major challenge to the Labour leadership, Mr Darling warned that more than halfway through this Parliament voters needed to know where he wanted to take the country.

Mr Darling left the door open for a return to a future Labour Cabinet, as he warned the British economy could be ‘bumping along at the bottom’ for an entire decade without real growth.

Mr Miliband and shadow chancellor Ed Balls have refused to say whether or not they will sign up to the Coalition’s austerity plans, or instead promise to spend more as has been reported.

Tory Chancellor George Osborne will reveal his spending totals for 2015-16 on June 26, stretching beyond the next general election.

Mr Darling said that after the announcement Labour will have to be clear about how it plans to manage the nation’s finances.

He said: ‘We won’t know the baseline of the government’s spending limits until the June spending review.

‘But we will during the course of this year have to set out the parameters.’

The Labour grandee who served as Gordon Brown’s Chancellor and Chief Secretary to the Treasury under Tony Blair, said the party was already spelling out detailed spending plans two years before the 1997 landslide.

‘Actually what we did was to establish in the public’s mind what our priorities were, for example in switching from the assisted places scheme to nursery places and so on. So people can see you direction of travel. That is what we need to.’

A Labour source said: ‘We need to wait for the spending review. Let’s see what they say.’

But challenged over why he thought Mr Miliband was not doing better – with the Labour lead down to single digits I some polls – Mr Darling offered only faint praise.

‘I think that Ed has been a lot more successful than people gave him credit for when he was first appointed,’ he told journalists at a lunch in Westminster.

Mr Darling, who had running battles with Gordon Brown during the dying days of the Labour government, also refused to be drawn on the tense relationship with his former friend.

Asked how many times they had spoken since Mr Brown was forced out of Downing Street three years ago, Mr Darling suggested it was few, if any. He said: ‘I have never provided a running commentary on any conversations I may or may not have had.’
This week there has been renewed speculation that Mr Balls could be moved from the Treasury brief ahead of the election.

Mr Darking is fronting the Better Together campaign against Scottish independence, which will be wound up after the referendum in autumn next year.

Asked if he would like a return to the Labour frontbench, Mr Darling suggested the backbenches were not for him, adding: ‘At the moment I am totally focussed on the referendum between now and October 2014 and after that I will see where I stand.’ He promised to ‘maintain an interest in wider affairs’ .

During a wide ranging speech, Mr Darling set out an alternative economic plan, backing a third runway at Heathrow, calling for more housebuilding and rejecting the idea of privatising the nationalised banks too soon

He warned that five years after the financial crisis which began on his watch, there was little sign of improvement with the Tories forced to take comfort from not falling into a triple dip recession.

‘My fear is we could be bumping along the bottom for an entire decade if not longer – look at what happened in Japan,’ Mr Darling said. He blamed a ‘lack of confidence’ among businesses.

In the Budget this year the government announced a £130billion mortgage guarantee scheme to kickstart the housing market.

But Mr Darling warned it risked creating a new housing bubble because it will force up prices without increasing supply of homes.

‘The risk is if you put in measures which make it easier to buy… but you don’t do anything about the supply of housing you simply put the prices up. We have enough experience in this country of what bubbles can do.

‘I would have preferred if George Osborne had done something more to speed up the supply of housing rather than doing something which will undoubtedly make some people feel better.

‘I think the result is if you look at London where people struggle to rent and to buy, simply putting more money into the system after an existing stock seems to me to be asking for trouble.’

He added that the South East of England we need extra runway capacity, and defied Mr Miliband;s policy to back the idea of Heathrow expansion.

He said Boris Johnson’s plan for a new airport in the Thames Estuary is a ‘complete nonsense’.

A SHIT JOB… BUT I’D HAVE DONE IT


English: Alan Johnson, British Labour Party po...
English: Alan Johnson, British Labour Party politician photographed in the Houses of Parliament, London, England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: A portentiously positioned election s...
English: A portentiously positioned election sign put up by the in , in the Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency, , for the . It was photographed on the first full day of campaigning. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Liberal Democrat Poster
Liberal Democrat Poster (Photo credit: divinenephron)
David Miliband and Tessa Jowell
David Miliband and Tessa Jowell (Photo credit: dominiccampbell)
Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown (Photo credit: lukemontague)

Former home secretary Alan Johnson has done an interview with the Guardian in which he reveals,

“… that he was prepared to lead the Labour party into coalition with the Liberal Democrats in 2010 – even though it was ‘a shit job’. In an interview with the Guardian, the MP for Hull West and Hessle said that when the Lib Dems came to talk to Labour in May 2010, just after the general election resulted in the first hung parliament in 36 years, he believed the two parties would form a coalition. Talks between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems had broken down.

“‘The condition they laid was that Gordon [Brown] had to go and we all knew that anyway … I thought, well, if there’s a leadership election in these circumstances I’ll stand.’

“… Johnson said it would have made sense for him to lead the party because it was a poisoned chalice and they did not want to sacrifice younger talent. ‘I was home secretary. David Miliband was foreign secretary. Alistair Darling was chancellor. It would have been one of us that were expected to go forward. It wasn’t the right way for David – or Ed Miliband, or whoever else was going to come in – to take over. It was a shit job to be done for a period of time.'”

The question that many will be asking, however, is: why didn’t Johnson challenge Brown for the ‘shit job’ ahead of the 2010 general election? How different would that election result have been for Labour had it been led by the charismatic, working-class, Blairite ex-postie? I guess we’ll never know…

How Amazing to see.


Margaret Thatcher reviewing Bermudian troops
Image via Wikipedia

How amazing to see Cameron is ready to go it alone in taking on the Colonel in his home for what is Cameron share of Oil pickings.
Well Blair did it, Thatcher did it,Brown did it, so now it’s Cameron’s turn.
The UN don’t really want to know at present but by gorge this man knows best, even though he criticized hi two predecessors on Iraq and Afghan.

LABOUR and the TORY


Prime Minister David Cameron
Image by The Prime Minister's Office via Flickr

Officially there’s more Dignity within the Labour camp now than in the Tory‘s camp.
David Cameron’s and his Bully friends has make sure of that by Killing the morals of ordinary Citizen’s.
The once respect Cameron has now gone to become unloved, out of touch, unthinkable and most unpopular lier any Government ever seen in the History of Politics in this Country.
Dream on Mr Dictator.

Big Society


Nick Clegg and other MPs
Image via Wikipedia

David Cameron say that Big Society is his mission, I did not know that this is the only thing the people of this country put’s him in the House of Parliament to do.
Can’t he see that his so call Big Society is Dead,is he beginning to become a Dictator and if so is he been watching what is happening in the world lately as people want what is good for them and not what is been shove down their throat any more.
Watch out Mr Cameron people talk not you.

Town Hall Staff skip NHS waiting List.


Nick Clegg and other MPs
Image via Wikipedia

We are all in it together,but new revelation show that David Cameron is Paying for his Town Hall Staff to jump the queues on the NHS while terminally ill Citizens have to wait.
Goes to show how distant we are from the Government and it’s promise on better Health Service for all.