David Cameron facing Commons grilling over personal finances

DAVID Cameron will face questions in Parliament over his personal finances as he faces MPs for the first time since it emerged he had profited from an offshore fund.

DAVID Cameron will face questions in Parliament over his personal finances as he faces MPs for the first time since it emerged he had profited from an offshore fund.

The Prime Minister, who took the unprecedented step of publishing information from his tax returns dating back to 2009-10, still has “big questions” to answer, according to Jeremy Corbyn.

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As MPs return to Westminster following the Easter break, Mr Cameron will make a statement on the measures the Government is taking to tackle tax dodging and corruption ahead of an international summit in London in May.

He will tell the Commons he intends to legislate this year for a new criminal offence for firms which fail to stop their staff facilitating tax evasion.

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Mr Cameron has been told by a Tory minister he needs to “build up” trust with the public following the row over his tax affairs.

Meanwhile Chancellor George Osborne also faced demands from Labour and the SNP to publish his tax returns.

A Treasury source said: “We have been clear that the Chancellor has never had any offshore shareholdings or other interests.

“His income and interests are straightforward and declared publicly: his salary, rental income from a property in London and a shareholding in his father’s firm, Osborne and Little.

“He is always happy to consider ways to offer even more transparency.”

The information about the Prime Minister’s finances showed that he paid more than £400,000 in tax on earnings of more than £1 million over six years from 2009 to 2015.

The disclosure followed the furore over the Panama Papers data leak and the revelation that Mr Cameron and his wife Samantha made a £19,000 profit on shares in an offshore trust set up by the Prime Minister’s father which were sold in 2010.

The Prime Minister has been angered by the focus on his father’s offshore business interests, insisting it was a “fundamental misconception” that the Blairmore Holdings trust had been set up to avoid tax.

He also sold shares worth an additional £72,000 in 2010, and can expect to face questions about where that money was invested.

Mr Corbyn, who has said he will publish his own tax returns, said the Prime Minister still had more to disclose about the period before he entered No 10 and suggested the Parliamentary standards watchdog could investigate.

He told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “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, 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.”

Defence Minister Penny Mordaunt told BBC One’s Sunday Politics that Mr Cameron’s credibility had not been damaged and he had done nothing wrong.

But she added: “I think what this is about is trust. And he has to now demonstrate and build up that trust and rapport with the general public.”

Asked if the Prime Minister had lost her trust, she replied: “I think that this will raise questions ... about politicians publishing further information about themselves, and I think although I understand arguments around privacy and security, if that is what the electorate require of their elected officials, I think that’s what will have to happen.”

The Prime Minister could also face questions about the gift of £200,000 from his mother on top of the £300,000 inheritance he received following the 2010 death of his father Ian.

The payments by Mary Cameron to her son in May and July 2011 were given tax free, and will only become liable to inheritance tax of up to 40% if the Prime Minister’s mother dies within seven years of handing over the money. There is no suggestion that they have broken any rules.

Mr Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell have called for a review of the inheritance tax system.

Mr McDonnell told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics: “I don’t personalise politics, this is about the system, and a system whereby someone can inherit, effectively, £500,000 from his mum and dad and not pay a penny on it, I think there’s something wrong in the system that allows that to happen.”

But Housing Minister Brandon Lewis pointed out that the gift from Mrs Cameron to her son was no different from similar arrangements used in other families, it was just a “larger sum of money”.

The information released by Number 10, in a schedule drawn up by accountants, showed the Prime Minister had a taxable income of more than £200,000 in 2014-15 and paid almost £76,000 in tax.

The information shows that Mr Cameron earned enough to benefit from the cut in the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p and reveals that the Notting Hill home vacated by the Prime Minister and his wife when they entered Number 10 has been let out for more than £90,000 a year.

Conservative backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg, a member of the Commons Treasury Committee, predicted that all MPs would soon be publishing their tax returns.

“I think I am going to have to. I think the mood has become one it’s very clear that all MPs within a year or two will be publishing their returns and I’m not going to be the one holding out against that,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“I think it is a pity that we have lost privacy but to some extent it is politicians’ fault because we lost the trust of the public over the expenses affair.”

Justice Secretary Michael Gove dismissed criticisms of Mr Cameron’s own affairs.

Mr Gove is at loggerheads with the PM over Europe but launched a staunch defence over tax.

“I think that he has behaved entirely properly throughout and I think many of the criticisms - all of the criticisms really - that have been directed against him have been wrong, they are politically motivated,” he told Sky News.

“I think that he has behaved with integrity.”