Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron and his father have been implicated in the Panama Papers, which sparked protests in the nation’s capital on April 9, 2016. Around 5,000 protesters walked the streets of London when it was announced Cameron was involved with offshore funds. The Prime Minister addressed the Conservative (Tory) Party about the alleged scandal.
The Panama Papers are a series of 11 million documents, which reveal tax havens and offshore companies set up by many world figures to avoid taxes and hide their wealth. The Panamanian Law Firm Mossack Fonseca, advised many of the world’s wealthy how to maneuver their finances through various practices. The documents were leaked to a German newspaper, Suddeustsche Zeitung, who then delivered them to the International Consortium of Journalists (ICIJ). The ICIJ has been sorting through the documents, so far, 140 prominent world figures have been implicated.
The prime minister’s father was named in the papers. Ian Donald Cameron was a millionaire stockbroker. The Panama Papers implicated Cameron, citing he hid most of his wealth by creating a trust in the Bahamas.
Prime Minister Cameron admitted, in an interview on April 8, he did own a portion of his father’s trust. He told reporters his holdings amounted to $30,500, which he sold before gaining his political chair in 2010. As a show of good faith, the leader plans to make his tax returns available to the public to show he had paid English taxes on his former Bahama holdings.
However, some people were angry after hearing of Cameron’s implication, and on April 9, they took to the streets. Independent reported estimates of 2,000 to 5,000 people gathering at various places throughout London. The largest of these demonstrations took place on Downing Street, in front of the Parliment building.
Mirror had created a photostream of that protest. The location was picked to coincide with the Tory spring conference. Protesters called for Cameron to step down. They shouted for the opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to take his place. In the photostream, there appeared to be both lighthearted and enraged participants. One picture showed a woman smiling as she handed out ice cream. Another showed a woman shouting as she was carried away by police.
The reason for such controversy was pointed out by one of the protesters. BBC News interviewed several people on Downing Street, one of the protesters stated, “It’s entirely hypocritical for him to, two years ago, claim to be against tax havens and tax evasion and then be guilty of it himself.”
The Washington Times had also reported this was a major point of Cameron’s agenda. The prime minister had made closing global tax loopholes a focal point of his government.
Still, Cameron stood by his father. The prime minister remained firm that he, himself, was not guilty of breaking any rules and his father’s business in the Bahamas was not created for tax evasion.
The prime minister addressed the Tory spring forum on April 9. He said jokingly, he has had a rough week. He stated, “I should have handled this better, I know there are lessons to learn and I will learn them.” Cameron urged people not to blame their government, he would accept the blame. Cameron told the forum transparency was important. He stated he was willing to publish both his past and current tax returns.
This comes at a bad time for the Tories. Independent interviewed a student who claimed, if Cameron resigned, there would be massive fighting between Tory candidates. The party would be in trouble.
Corbyn and others from the Labour Party have promised they will push the prime minister when Parliament reconvenes on April 11. Corbyn promised to publish his tax returns as well. Jokingly, he added, “there’ll be no surprises there.”
Protests have stirred, as David Cameron has been implicated in the Panama Papers. It is unlikely he will resign and as an act of good faith, he has promised to make his tax returns available. Cameron stood by his father and told Britain he had done nothing wrong.
By Harrison Baker
Edited by Jeanette Smith
BBC News: David Cameron’s Implication in the Panama Papers Stirs Protest
Independent: ‘Resign Cameron’ protests: Activists surround venue where Conservative Party is holding spring meeting
Mirror: David Cameron protest: Live updates as thousands call for PM’s resignation after Panama Papers scandal
Washington Times: David Cameron, U.K. prime minister, on Panama Papers admission: ‘I could have handled this better’
Image Courtesy of UK in Italy’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License