Watch: Nigel Farage denounces tax avoidance in speech last month

The UKIP leader, who set up an offshore tax fund on the Isle of Man, told the European parliament that tax avoidance was about "the perception of fairness".

In my earlier post on Nigel Farage's offshore tax fund (located on the Isle of Man), I noted that the UKIP leader was guilty of hypocrisy having recently denounced tax avoidance in a speech to the European parliament. Well, here is that speech in full and it's as damaging as you'd expect.

He told MEPs (who he assailed for "tax fraud"): "There's a great degree of unity here this morning, a common enemy: rich people, successful companies evading tax, which of course is a problem, avoiding tax, which is not illegal, but it gives this whole chamber this morning a high moral tone and, as Mr Barrasso says, it's all about the perception of fairness." Indeed it is, Mr Farage. 

He went on to accuse the EU Commission of attempting to "drive a wedge between the United Kingdom and the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Caymans". Maybe, but shouldn't he have declared his interest? 

Nigel Farage addresses members of the public during a political meeting at the Armstrong Hall in South Shields. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for International Trade.

Only Nixon, it is said, could have gone to China. Only a politician with the impeccable Commie-bashing credentials of the 37th President had the political capital necessary to strike a deal with the People’s Republic of China.

Theresa May’s great hope is that only Liam Fox, the newly-installed Secretary of State for International Trade, has the Euro-bashing credentials to break the news to the Brexiteers that a deal between a post-Leave United Kingdom and China might be somewhat harder to negotiate than Vote Leave suggested.

The biggest item on the agenda: striking a deal that allows Britain to stay in the single market. Elsewhere, Fox should use his political capital with the Conservative right to wait longer to sign deals than a Remainer would have to, to avoid the United Kingdom being caught in a series of bad deals. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.