Panama Papers

'Blame me' Cameron tells Tories as protesters call for him to go

The British prime minister has admitted he mishandled the Panama Papers controversy.

DAVID CAMERON TODAY admitted mishandling the controversy over his father’s offshore business interests, as demonstrators rallied outside his office calling for him to resign.

The British prime minister said he would publish his tax returns and shouldered the blame for the row over his financial affairs.

Cameron and Downing Street issued four comments regarding the Panama Papers before the leader finally admitted he had held shares in his late father’s Bahamas-based offshore investment fund on Thursday.

“It has not been a great week. I know that I should have handled this better, I could have handled this better,” he told his Conservative Party’s spring forum in London.

“I know there are lessons to learn and I will learn them.

Don’t blame Number 10 Downing Street or nameless advisers; blame me.

Sky News / YouTube

A few hundred demonstrators, many wearing Panama hats, gathered outside Downing Street this afternoon to call for Cameron’s resignation.

Protesters carrying signs reading “Eton’s Mess”, and “What goes in Panama does not stay in Panama”, marched from Cameron’s central London office to Trafalgar Square, bringing traffic to a halt.

Mossack Fonseca data leak John Stillwell / PA Wire/Press Association Images John Stillwell / PA Wire/Press Association Images / PA Wire/Press Association Images

On Thursday, Cameron admitted he and his wife had held a stake in his father’s Blairmore Holdings scheme. They bought the stake for £12,497 in 1997 and sold it for £31,500, four months before he became prime minister in 2010.

The revelations in the Panama Papers, resulting from what the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca blamed on a computer hack launched from abroad, revealed how the world’s wealthy stashed assets in offshore companies.

“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,” Cameron told his party’s gathering.

“I sold those shares. In fact, I sold all the shares that I owned, on becoming prime minister.

“And 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.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for Cameron to make a formal Commons statement on the issue and said today he would publish his own tax returns “very, very soon”.

© – AFP, 2016

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