Tuesday 6 July 2010

Good Riddance To Non-Dom Peers

Sky News and the Evening Standard have both reported that one cross-bench and three Tory members of the House of Lords are resigning from parliament so they can keep their tax-avoiding non domicile status. They are:

Raj Kumar Bagri, former chairman of the London Metal Exchange (a post now held by his son Apruv), became a peer in 1997. Although his baronetcy is officially for Regents Park, he lives in Delhi. His family's wealth was valued in in last year's Sunday Times Rich List as £55 million. He has voted five times on four days in the Lords since the start of 2009.

Lydia Dunn became a peer in 1990 and was formerly a senior political figure in Hong Kong before the transfer of sovereignty to China. She is an Executive Director of John Swire & Sons in Hong Kong (owners of the Cathay Pacific airline) and was also deputy chairman of HBSC. Dunn has not voted in the Lords since 2007.

Irvine Laidlaw is Scot now living as a tax exile in Monaco. Last year he was the 66th richest person in the country with a personal wealth of £630m, which explains why he has a private jet, a yacht and a vintage car collection. Laidlaw donated £173,000 to the Conservatives in 2008, but has spoken in no debates over the last year and hasn't voted in the Lords since 2007.

Alistair McAlpine is a former Treasurer and Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, who defected to to James Goldsmith's Referendum Party and in 1997 became its leader. He has since rejoined the Tories and now lives in Puglia in southern Italy. He has voted in 11% of votes in the Lords and not spoken in any debate in the last year.

Monaco, Hong Kong, Italy and India - on their own, these four collectively reinforce the case for the abolition of the Lords, but with the opportunity to either resign or relinquish non-dom status expiring tomorrow afternoon, lets see how many other tax dodging millionaires decide to spend more time with their bank balances over the next 24 hours...


The architect Norman Foster, the 'Gherkin' guy, has also decided to spend more time with his bank balance and his château in Switzerland, stepping down as a crossbench peer.

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