Exclusive: Lord Paul to end his non-domiciled tax status

Bold move by Labour peer will put pressure back on his Tory critics.

In an exclusive interview with the New Statesman, the Labour peer and long-time party donor Lord Paul of Marylebone says he is to end his controversial "non-dom" tax status. He says:

On the issue of taxation position of peers, of course it goes without saying that I'll be fully complying with the change of law which the government is bringing forward. I strongly support the government proposals in relation to the taxation status of peers and MPs and the membership of the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

On the subject of the police investigation into his House of Lords expenses, Lord Paul reveals:

I am delighted to announce today that the Metropolitan Police Service have informed me that it has decided after due consideration that it will no longer be proceeding with any investigation or inquiry in relation to my House of Lords expenses. I very much welcome the police decision.

So will he be ending his non-dom status from the next tax year? "That's right," he says.

Asked about his views on the Tories and their attempt to involve him in the non-dom row about Lord Ashcroft, he says:

I think they have been caught with their pants down, and what better than try to reflect on others? First of all, I am a born domicile. I am born in India. He was the only one who was asked to pay full taxes. Nobody asked me. I have always been open about my non-domiciled status. There are lots of non-doms in the House of Lords, but I don't know of any case where they were asked to pay full tax, apart from Lord Ashcroft.

He adds:

I am not buying MPs, seats or the party. I have no interest in being a minister. I'm too old for it anyway. The Tories seem to be confused. And don't forget I was appointed a peer by John Major, not by the Labour government of Tony Blair or Gordon Brown.

Asked how much his decision will cost him, in terms of tax contributions to the Exchequer, the Labour donor reveals:

Definitely not millions of pounds, or hundreds of thousands.

Lord Paul also clarifies the speculation over the nature of his donations, saying:

I have never given a personal donation to the Labour Party.

He adds, with regard to the controversy over his appointment to the Privy Council in 2009:

My contribution to this country is perhaps bigger than a lot of people who are privy councillors. I don't think it is a monopoly for ex-ministers and ministers to be members of the Privy Council. I bought steel companies in Britain and brought them to health and made the industry fashionable again in the 1980s. We have 3,500 employees in this country right now.

Follow the New Statesman team on Twitter.

 

Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.

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Diane Abbott tweeting the fake lesbian quote won’t detract from Theresa May’s gay rights record

The shadow home secretary tweeted a quote about lesbians which can’t be traced to the Prime Minister.

Diane Abbott has deleted her tweet of a quote that’s been whizzing around Twitter, supposedly attributed to Theresa May.

The meme suggests that the Prime Minister, when a councillor in Merton and Wimbledon in the Eighties, once said: “Curbing the promotion of lesbianism in Merton’s schools starts with girls having male role models in their lives.”


Twitter screengrab

But there is no evidence available to prove that May ever said this. The quotation was investigated by Gay Star News and BuzzFeed when it started being shared ahead of the election. Just like Dan Hannan's pictures from his country walk and erm, pretty much every pro-Leave politician suggesting the NHS would get £350m extra a week after Brexit, Abbott’s tweet was a bad idea. It’s good she deleted it.

However, this doesn’t take away from Theresa May’s poor track record on gay rights, which has been collated by PinkNews and others:

1998: She voted against reducing the age of consent for gay sex.

1999: She voted against equalising the age of consent, again.

2000: She voted against repealing Section 28, and Vice has uncovered an interview she did in her forties with a student paper when she said “most parents want the comfort of knowing Section 28 is there”, referring to the legislation stopping “the promotion of homosexuality in schools”.

2000: She did not show up to another vote on making the age of consent for gay people equal to the one for straight people.

2001: She voted against same-sex adoption.

2002: She voted against same-sex adoption, again.

2003: She did not vote on repealing Section 28.

2004: She missed all four votes on the gender recognition bill. (But she did vote in favour of civil partnerships this year).

2007: She missed a vote on protecting gay people from discrimination (the part of the Equality Act that would prevent b&bs and wedding cake makers discriminating against gay people, for example).

2008: She opposed IVF for same-sex couples, voting in favour of a child needing a “father and mother” before allowing a woman to have IVF treatment.

Since then, May has softened her stance on gay rights, apologised for her past voting record, and voted in favour of same-sex marriage. “I have changed my view. If those votes were taken today, I would take a different vote,” she said.

But your mole can think of at least one politician who’s always been on the right side of history regarding gay rights. Diane Abbott.

I'm a mole, innit.