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MP admits: 'Non-dom' Lord pays for seat

PUBLISHED: 17:24 03 March 2010 | UPDATED: 11:32 23 August 2010

BILLIONAIRE Lord Ashcroft, who has avoided paying millions in tax, helped to fund the 2005 Gravesham Tory campaign - with an estimated £25,000 donation. Gravesham MP Adam Holloway s register of interests, from November 2005 states he received donations f

BILLIONAIRE Lord Ashcroft, who has avoided paying millions in tax, helped to fund the 2005 Gravesham Tory campaign - with an estimated £25,000 donation.

Gravesham MP Adam Holloway's register of interests, from November 2005 states he received donations from Lord Ashcroft's company Bearwood Corporate Services Ltd.

It followed his campaign to win the Gravesham seat from former Labour MP Chris Pond. His donation was registed after Mr Holloway was declared the winner. The company is currently under investigation by watchdog the electoral commission over whether it is merely a holding company for a Belize based group, Stargate Holdings.

Kathryn Smith, Labour parliamentary candidate for Gravesham was shocked by the revelations.

Mrs Smith said: "He clearly was funded last time and possible in quite a big way - it is part of his public record. It's almost as if Lord Ashcroft bought the Gravesham seat for the Tories. Following the members' expenses scandal, public trust in politicians is at an all time low.

"Now we learn that Gravesham Tories accepted campaign funding from a billionaire 'non-dom' who instead of paying tax in the UK, channelled funds into marginal seats."

Lord Ashcroft is able to avoid paying tax on any overseas money by declaring himself a non-domestic resident but he does pay tax on any UK earnings.

As Conservative Deputy Chairman Lord Ashcroft has in the past stated he would move to the UK but is still currently a 'non-dom'.

Had he been a registered resident in the UK during the past 10 year it has been estimated he would have paid more than £100 million in taxes.

Mrs Smith added: "Just imagine if those millions had been spent on schools, hospitals and more frontline police officers in Gravesham."

The amount paid to Adam Holloway's 2005 campaign is not revealed on the Parliamentary Register of Members' Interests although it is considered to be in region of £25,000.

Friends Julian and Victoria Schild were also registered by Adam Holloway as providing "sponsorship or financial or material support."

The Electoral Commission records show Mr Schild's provided £2,000 in March 2004.

Mr Holloway first came under scrutiny over his finances when the expenses scandal broke in May last year.

Your campaigning Reporter was invited in to his home to look through his expenses, which included £524 for a television, £5,200 on carpeting and £10,000 on stamp duty for his second home.

An independent review conducted by Sir Trevor Legg and published at the beginning of this year revealed Mr Holloway had been asked to repay more than £1,000 after claiming on council tax and water rates twice.

Mr Holloway refused to comment on the Lord Ashcroft donation.

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