David Cameron calls on George Osborne to publish his tax returns

Posted On: 
11th April 2016

David Cameron today backed calls for George Osborne to publish his own tax returns.

David Cameron says George Osborne should publish his tax returns
PA Images

Downing Street said the Prime Minister wanted the Chancellor and his Labour shadow John McDonnell "to show transparency" by releasing details on their own tax arrangements.

Mr McDonnell published his in January.

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The statement by Mr Cameron's official spokeswoman came as he prepares to face MPs for the first time since the so-called Panama Papers were published.

Among the 11 million leaked documents from law firm Mossack Fonseca were papers showing how the Prime Minister's late father Ian set up an offshore investment fund in the country more than 30 years ago.

Mr Cameron eventually admitted he as his wife had sold £30,000-worth of units in the fund shortly before he became Prime Minister, netting them a profit of £19,000.

Amid mounting pressure over his financial arrangements, he also became the first Prime Minister to publish his tax returns yesterday.

They showed that Mr Cameron had received a £200,000 gift from his mother in 2011, meaning he will avoid having to pay inheritance tax on it if she lives until 2018.

Sources close to George Osborne have hinted that he was willing to publish his own tax returns, and the comments by Mr Cameron's spokeswoman this morning make that inevitable.

She said: "When it comes to publishing tax returns, the Prime Minister has made clear that he was willing to be transparent and it's right for potential Prime Ministers to also do so.

"With regard to who is in charge of the nation's finances, the Prime Minister takes the view that Chancellors and Shadow Chancellors should show transparency too, but he's not recommending it for other MPs."

Speaking to the BBC minutes after the Downing Street statement, Mr McDonnell said: "I published mine because I was asked the question a couple of months ago and I said then actually the Prime Minister but also the Chancellor have a specific role in determining taxation policy so I think it’s better to be completely open and transparent. And I think it is in politics generally.”

London Mayor Boris Johnson today became the latest senior politician to say he would be willing to publish his tax returns, although he said other MPs should not be "bullied" into doing so.