The past few days have been difficult for the Prime Minister, following the disclosure of his financial arrangements in light of the Panama Papers. Journalists are now seeing a flurry of politicians release their tax returns, with the leaders of the Scottish parties being particularly prepared to share. The spotlight has now fallen on the Chancellor, largely – it would appear – because he is known to be wealthy. The genesis for the Prime Minister sharing his tax details was because he was mentioned in the leaked documents last week, not because he is in a position of power. Over the weekend Jeremy Corbyn said there was a case for all people in public life to declare his or her financial undertakings, though a definition of public life has not yet been forthcoming.
Everybody is waiting to see if this issue will gather pace and create such irresistible momentum that declaring one’s tax returns becomes the norm. Journalists are salivating at the prospect because it gives them gossipy copy for their papers. Whatever the situation, it has knocked the EU referendum and steel workers issue off the top spot for most of the week. The trouble is that, despite not having done anything illegal, the Prime Minister’s credibility may be hit by the story and that could have knock-on effects on his ability to campaign effectively in the next few sensitive months.