POLITICAL rivals have clashed over controversial Conservative deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft.
Earlier this week the billionaire businessman, who has donated £4m to the Tories, revealed he does not pay UK tax on earnings outside Britain.
Yesterday, Dewsbury Labour MP Shahid Malik accused his Conservative opponent Simon Reevell of using Lord Ashcroft’s money against him.
He said: “We estimate that Ashcroft and the Tories have already spent more than £80,000 in Dewsbury. This is compared with about £2,000 we have spent. Ashcroft and Reevell clearly don’t know people in these parts – their vote does not have a price tag.”
Mr Malik added: “It is estimated that, due to the actions of Lord Ashcroft, some £127m has not been paid to the taxman.
“Next time people in Dewsbury see Mr Reevell’s glossy leaflets, they will have the right to think these expensive Tory campaigns have come at the cost of a new school, a new hospital or extra police officers.”
But Mr Reevell rubbished the claims yesterday.
He said: “Michael Ashcroft has donated 5% or less of the money that’s come in to the Conservatives. This idea that Michael looks round for some constituency and writes a cheque, it isn’t how things work.
“We raise money from ordinary Dewsbury folk and we have the Northern Board which raises money in the North of England – every penny that’s raised in the North is spent in the North.”
Mr Reevell added that Mr Malik, as a sitting MP, has access to public funding. He said: “I don’t have £10,000 of taxpayers’ money and a big stack of House of Commons notepaper.
“Shahid Malik doesn’t like the fact that the Conservatives are popular in Dewsbury so he’s having a whinge.
“This is opportunistic from him, considering that the Labour Party has non-dom funders like Lord Paul.”