The note below is from Billy (insert appropriate word here) Hague, to the Honours committee in Parliament.
2nd March 2000 *
This is in response to soundings within Parliament that the soon to be 'Lord' Ashcroft was unsuitable for a number of reasons.
On the question of tax status (as a tax-exile), Mister Hague shares the following assessment and assurances:
"Firstly, his non-residence in the UK was felt to be relevant. Mr Ashcroft has since publicly undertaken to resume residency in the UK. Given the complex nature of his business and financial affairs this cannot be acheived immediately but his lawyers have been instructed to resettle his affairs so as to acheive his residency in a well ordered manner. A letter from his solicitors Allan & Overy to James Arbuthnot is attached which makes clear the way in which Mr Ashcroft is taking the necessary action to fulfil his undertaking to resume residency. I have no doubt that this reflects his clear intention."
Is that like a "cast-iron guarantee"?
*only taken ten years to get some truth out of him. *we* ought to be honoured..
This article from The Guardian, entitled 'Hague only found out about Ashcroft tax deal a few months ago' puts a bit more meat on the bones:
"In 2000 Hague suggested that Ashcroft would become a full UK taxpayer when he took his seat in the Lords. But this week Ashcroft revealed that he has been a non-dom for the last 10 years, after a deal was agreed at the time his peerage was awarded.
In the Radio 4 debate, Hague was asked if the "first he had known" of the arrangement was when Ashcroft revealed it on Monday.
Hague said: "Well I knew in advance of that." Robin Lustig, the presenter, pressed Hague on exactly when he had found out. Hague replied: "Over the last few months I knew about that and of course I was keen to support him then in making his position public."
In 2000 Ashcroft offered Hague, who was then Tory leader, a "clear and unequivocal" assurance that if Ashcroft was granted a peerage he would be a permanent resident in the UK by the end of that year. That letter was passed to the House of Lords appointments committee, which was scrutinising his nomination."
"Home is where the heart is?"
For Lord Ashcroft, as he says on his website, his heart is in Belize.
.. Hmm, and I can't find the quote any more; it was there when I last looked.
[update 4th March 2010 duh, I'm blind, still has it here: http://www.lordashcroft.com/belize/index.html
"If home is where the heart is, then Belize is my home."[/update]