Belizian government savages Lord Ashcroft

By politics.co.uk staff

The Tories’ infamous and pivotal donor and deputy-chairman, Lord Ashcroft, has been torn apart at a meeting of the Belizean parliament, where he has significant business interests.

The Conservative peer, who has faced substantial criticism for the murky situation surrounding where he is based, says of the Central American state: “”If home is where the heart is, then my home is in Belize.”

But in an extraordinary attack on the Tory donor yesterday, the prime minister of Belize described him as “predatory”.

The parliament was debating the nationalisation of Telemedia, a company sold to Michael Ashcroft in the early ’90s.

Lord Ashcroft later gave up control of the company, although he became involved again under the request of the government.

“There will be no more suffering of this one man’s campaign to subjugate an entire nation to his will,” said prime minister Dean Barrow, the country’s first black leader, in a specially convened parliamentary debate.

“Lord Michael Ashcroft is an extremely powerful man. His net worth may well be equal to Belize’s entire GDP. He is nobody to cross,” he continued.

“This is our House, this is our country. Here we are masters, here we are sovereign. And with the full weight of that sovereignty we must now put an end to this disrespect, to this chance taking, to new age slavery.

“There will thus be no more Telemedia awards against us; no more Telemedia court battles; no more debilitating waste of government’s energies and resources.”

The pressure on Lord Ashcroft in Belize will concern David Cameron, who has managed to keep Lord Ashcroft’s unique status fairly low on the political agenda.

The peer is essential to the Tories’ electoral plans. He bankrolls campaigns in marginal constituencies, much to the ire of Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs, and his vision of decontaminating the Tory brand was quickly adopted by Mr Cameron once he took over the party.

An amendment to the political parties and elections bill outlaws tax exiles from funding election campaigns but it will not apply until after the next general election.