Opposition urges Cameron to "come clean" on link to offshore funds

Opposition leaders on Friday urged British Prime Minister David Cameron to "come clean" by making a full disclosure in parliament on his links to offshore funds that his late father had registered in tax havens.

"David Cameron must now come to parliament on Monday and be entirely honest with the British public," said Caroline Lucas, Britain's sole Green Party member of parliament.

"Any further evasion of the truth over this issue will only add to a growing sense that this government simply can't be trusted to take tax avoidance seriously," Lucas said in a statement.

Labour, the official opposition to Cameron's Conservative Party, said he should "come clean" after days of "denial and sidestepping" following the naming of his father, Ian Cameron, in the Panama Papers leak.

"Yesterday evening, after days of obfuscation, denial and sidestepping, we learned that David Cameron himself did benefit from an offshore fund," Tom Watson, Labour's deputy leader, said in a speech.

"Only by stepping out of the shadows and into the sunlight will David Cameron be able to disinfect his sullied reputation," Watson said.

Conservative allies meanwhile jumped to defend Cameron's decision to make a series of brief statements rather than a full disclosure of his links to his father's offshore investments.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said he believed Cameron had wanted to protect his father's reputation and "with the benefit of hindsight, he would rather that all of what has come out over the last four days had come out on the first day."

"I think the instinct is one that we all can identify with, even if it was something that he might well have done differently if given a second chance," Boles told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Labour's Owen Smith, the shadow work and pensions secretary, accused Cameron of "double standards" and told Today that he should address the public's "doubts about the trustworthiness of the prime minister" and "come clean about what the government's real intentions are about tax avoidance."

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon told the BBC later Friday that Cameron's statements on the funds "had to be dragged out of him."

Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown posted a message to Cameron on Twitter on the "first rule of crises."

"Tell the truth and the whole truth," Ashdown wrote. "Don't have it dragged out of you like a rotten tooth."

Cameron told broadcaster ITV late Thursday that he had invested in one of his father's offshore funds, Blairmore Investment, selling his holding for more than 30,000 pounds (42,000 dollars) in 2010.

The prime minister said all his dividends from his father's fund were subject to full taxation in Britain.

He also said he did not know whether 300,000 pounds he inherited after his father's death in 2010 had come from offshore investments.

Cameron initially said his father's use of the Mossack Fonseca law firm, which was the subject of the large Panama Papers leak, was "a private matter." His father, Ian Cameron, controlled the fund from 1982 until his death in 2010.

Cameron later made statements saying that he and his immediate family held no offshore assets and would not benefit from offshore holdings in the future.

Last update: Fri, 08/04/2016 - 14:26
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