British Prime Minister David Cameron on Saturday admitted that he could have handled the tax row arising out of the Panama Papers leak “better”, saying he will imminently publish details of his personal tax affairs.
Addressing Conservative party members at the party’s spring conference in London today, he said that he had learnt lessons over the past week.
“It has not been a great week. I know that I should have handled this better, I could have handled this better. I know there are lessons to learn and I will learn them,” he said at the start of his address to Tory activists.
In reference to partial statements from his Downing Street office, he added: “Don’t blame Number 10 Downing Street or nameless advisers, blame me. I was obviously very angry
about what people were saying about my dad. I loved my dad, I miss him every day. He was a wonderful father and I’m very proud of everything he did.”
“But I mustn’t let that cloud the picture. The facts are these: I bought shares in a unit trust, shares that are like any other sorts of shares and I paid taxes on them in exactly the same way. I sold those shares. In fact, I sold all the shares that I owned, on becoming prime minister,” he said.
He announced that he will publish his tax returns for the past few years in an attempt to settle the row over his taxes.
He said: “Later on I will be publishing the information that goes into my tax return, not just for this year but the years gone past because I want to be completely open and transparent about these things.”
“I will be the first prime minister, the first leader of a major political party, to do that and I think it is the right thing to do,” he added.
The Panama Papers revelations have sparked political reaction around the world, including India, where high-profile figures have been implicated for tax avoidance.
Cameron had been under increasing pressure as he refused to give details of his family’s money held offshore in a Caribbean tax haven.
His late father Ian Cameron’s name is allegedly named in the over 11 million leaked documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca that were shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) with 107 media organisations around the world.
According to the Consortium, Ian Cameron used Mossack Fonseca’s services to shield profits from his investment fund, Blairmore Holdings Inc, with a series of expensive and complicated arrangements.