Page last updated at 12:34 GMT, Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Prime minister's questions


Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman has promised action to ensure only UK taxpayers can sit in Parliament.

Responding to accusations from the Liberal Democrats that Tory peer Lord Ashcroft did not pay tax in the UK on overseas earnings, Ms Harman told the Commons there should be "no representation without taxation" and said Parliament should set an example.

"We are going to bring forward legislation to make sure that people are domiciled, resident and ordinarily resident to sit in this House or to sit in the House of Lords," she told MPs as she stood in for Gordon Brown, who is attending the climate change talks in Copenhagen, at PMQs on 16 December 2009.

Vince Cable, standing in for Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, said the share of tax revenue in the economy "has now fallen to the lowest level since the days of Harold Macmillan" yet HM Revenue and Customs estimated that some £40bn of duty was being evaded.

Ms Harman said the tax take had fallen as a result of the recession.

She added: "There is an old saying of 'no taxation without representation'. What about 'no representation without taxation?"'

Mr Cable likened the Conservatives to "turkeys voting for Christmas" for backing a Liberal Democrat policy to ban non-doms from Parliament.

He urged ministers to amend the Constitutional Reform Bill "so that non-doms like Lord Ashcroft can leave Parliament immediately".

When he was made a Conservative peer in 2000, Lord Ashcroft gave an undertaking that he would pay taxes in the UK but has since refused to comment on his tax status, insisting it was a private matter.

Story Tools

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific