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PM has “big questions” to answer parliament over tax affairs – opposition leader

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Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 07:56 GMT, Apr 11, 2016 |
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British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday (April 10), said he wanted a full public disclosure of Prime Minister David Cameron’s tax affairs and called on him to answer questions from parliament about his offshore accounts.

After the Panama Papers leak and because Cameron took too long to reveal his stake in his father’s offshore trust, it is a public matter that needs parliamentary scrutiny, Corbyn said.

“I want to see the papers. We need to know what he’s actually returned, as a tax return. We need to know why he put this money overseas in the first place and whether he made anything out of it or not before 2010 when he became prime minister. These are questions that he must answer. I think there is a question for parliament there and there is a question for parliamentary standards to question him on this. There is a question, big questions, that have to be put to him by parliament and that surely is the function of parliament,” Corbyn said.

He added that British people were angry about the revelations. But he fell short of calling for the prime minister to resign a day after Cameron admitted he had mishandled the Panama Papers leak about his father’s tax affairs.

“What Panama (Papers) has shown, more than anything, is that there is one rule for the rich and one rule for the rest. If you’ve got a lot of money you put it in a tax haven, you get a big income as a result of it, you pay no tax on it. If you are a care worker, a street cleaner or a nurse, you don’t have those options, you don’t have those opportunities, you pay your tax. And I tell you, the anger out there, of a lot of people who work really hard, pay their tax and are not offered negotiations with HMRC (UK tax office)! They have to pay and they get fined if they are late,” Corbyn said.

Cameron took the unorthodox step on Sunday of publishing his tax records which are normally confidential. The prime minister is hoping to draw a line under questions about his personal finances which were first raised by the mention of his late father in the Panama Papers for setting up an offshore fund.

The revelations have led to demands for Cameron’s resignation and handed ammunition to opposition lawmakers who questioned why he was reluctant to detail his financial connections with his father.