Cameron’s approval rating tumbles as pressure grows over family finances
PM has lost trust, says Labour, after admission over father’s offshore fund
British prime minister David Cameron: YouGov poll shows him falling behind Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in public approval. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
David Cameron’s approval rating has fallen to its lowest level since 2013 in the wake of the Panama Papers revelations, as Labour said he had lost trust over the issue. Mr Cameron admitted on Thursday that he had benefited from an offshore investment fund run by his late father, although he sold all his shares in it in 2010.
A YouGov poll on Friday showed the prime minister falling behind Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in public approval, with 58 per cent saying Mr Cameron is “doing badly” at his job, compared with 34 per cent who say he is doing well. Thirty per cent say the Labour leader is doing well and 52 per cent say he is doing badly, giving him a net approval rating of minus 22, compared to Mr Cameron’s minus 24.
Downing Street insisted on Friday that the prime minister had complied with the parliamentary code of conduct by registering all his financial interests after Labour MP John Mann called on him to resign.
“No interpretation of his actions could conclude that he has acted in an ‘open and frank’ way, in line with the code of conduct for MPs. It is only now, with the Panama revelations, that David Cameron has been forced to admit that he did not register his financial interests. This is a matter of transparency and integrity. David Cameron has shown neither of these qualities and should resign as prime minister,” Mr Mann said.
Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson said Mr Cameron could not be blamed for his father’s actions but he accused the prime minister of not being “entirely straight” about his financial affairs.
Mr Cameron’s admission that he benefited from the offshore fund followed four days of equivocal statements in response to the Panama Papers.
“That wouldn’t be so bad if he hadn’t also been lecturing very prominent people about their own tax arrangements, some he called morally wrong for being invested in similar schemes,” Mr Watson said.
Labour says that Mr Cameron has been shown to be hypocritical in the light of his criticism of comedian Jimmy Carr in 2012 for taking advantage of a legal tax avoidance scheme.
The Scottish National Party accused the prime minister of “playing” the British public over the Panama Papers revelations, contrasting his response to the resignation of Iceland’s prime minister this week.
“Arguably, Icelanders have tolerated less than the hypocrisy we have seen from the prime minister, who has presented himself as a champion against offshore tax havens having personally pocketed from them,” said foreign policy spokesman Angus MacNeil.
“Have David Cameron’s interests influenced his actions in parliament? They should have been declared before now. The prime minister is in a dire situation – he has led us down the garden path and the public will find it very difficult to ever trust him again.”