It has been a long day of spin, claim and counter claim, rebuttal and pre-buttal, three on-the-record statements, multiple off-the-record briefings and questions to three government departments. Finally Jeremy Corbyn has tried to clear up his tax return, sort of. Guido takes you through it, blow by blow…
9pm last night: Journalists first began to query whether Jeremy Corbyn’s tax return included his salary as Leader of the Opposition. Corbyn’s team did not provide an answer.
1am this morning: Corbyn’s team released a statement explaining that he included his LOTO payments in the pensions and benefits section, rather than the employment section. They did not say why.
9am this morning: It emerged that the government’s accounts show a different figure for his LOTO earnings, and say it is a “salary“. Corbyn’s team did not have an explanation for the discrepancy.
3pm this afternoon: Corbyn’s team explain the discrepancy in a new statement: “This figure is calculated after deducting the waivers Jeremy has made of earlier increases to the benefit… A parliamentary pension contribution of £3,395 was also deducted”. They blame the Cabinet Office for not clearing it up and offshore media owners for having ulterior motives:
“The owners of the media companies that have attempted to cast doubt over Jeremy’s transparent and accurate tax return are of course among those who could stand to lose from the tax transparency and justice the British people demand. Jeremy believes firmly in transparency. These media barons have tax questions of their own to answer.”
Interesting conspiracy, or could it just be that Corbyn’s team didn’t understand the numbers and it took them 18 hours to work it out?