Thu Sep 6, 2012 10:10AM
British Prime Minister has awarded the top donor to his Conservative party Lord Michael Ashcroft the position of the PM’s top veterans’ tsar. The intrusive billionaire is the top donor to the Conservative party and will ensure “military personnel get the support they need when making the transition to civilian life.” The appointment once more raises questions of a cash-for-influence deal between Tories and Ashcroft who is credited with donating millions of pounds to the party over the past decade. Ashcroft has been so far at the center of several such controversies including in 2004 when he clashed with the then Conservative leader Michael Howard after offering a £2 million donation on the condition that it should go to his specified candidates rather than the whole party. Later in 2006, he was once more at the heart of a cash-for-peerage scandal after revelations that he loaned £3.6 million to the party. The Ashcroft affair became especially embarrassing for the Conservative party after he revealed in March 2010 that he had not paid tax since entering the House of Lords in 2000. The revelation brought shame on William Hague who was party leader when Ashcroft became a Lord as Hague had said the peer would begin paying “tens of millions” more in tax when he enters the upper chamber of parliament. Ashcroft will now act under the title of the Prime Minister’s special representative for veterans’ transition. AMR/HE