Will Cameron survive the Panama revelations?

British Prime Minister David Cameron published a summary of his tax returns on Sunday. The move came in reaction to the Panama Papers, which reveal that he had shares in an offshore company set up by his late father. Commentators disagree about whether Cameron is guilty of any wrongdoings but fear that whatever the case the affair will influence the Brexit referendum

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The Times (GB) /

Risk of EU referendum becoming protest vote

The revelations about Cameron's father come at a time when the British public is already extremely dissatisfied with the government's domestic policies, the conservative daily The Times observes:

“There is now a risk that many will use June’s EU vote as a way of punishing the government for its botched attempt to cut disability benefits, its mishandling of the Port Talbot crisis, the junior doctors’ strike and some as a protest against Mr Cameron’s father’s tax planning. … The worst thing Mr Cameron could do in the 73 days between now and the date Britain decides whether to remain in the EU is to spend all hours campaigning in favour of Brussels. His top priorities should be to save Port Talbot; heed Iain Duncan Smith’s warnings about unfair welfare cuts and avoid other banana skins.”

Die Tageszeitung taz (DE) /

Cameron-bashing a diversionary tactic

The huge outcry over David Cameron's supposed misdeeds is overshadowing the truly important questions, the left-leaning daily taz criticises:

“Cameron acted in an exemplary way in 2010 when he sold his shares before taking office as prime minister. The fact that they were worth far more than when they were purchased many years earlier is neither astonishing nor objectionable. But for certain simple-minded left-wing populists, merely having enough money to put in an investment fund is reason enough to resign. ... Everyone finds it convenient to hurl accusations at the purportedly tarnished David Cameron and to ignore the truly relevant questions. For example, what money from all over the world really does land in offshore funds in British overseas territories, and what the British financial supervisory authority is doing to prevent it from being used for organised crime, state theft, money laundering and tax fraud.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

PM fighting to save credibility

The conservative daily Lidové noviny examines the potential consequences of the Panama Papers for the Brexit referendum, saying that this explains why Cameron has made his tax returns public:

“On the face of it the referendum on the UK staying in the EU has nothing to do with the issue of tax avoidance. But it does have a lot to do with trust in the elites Cameron represents. The Panama Papers are destroying all faith in fairness. … A sense of justice and dignity is common to all human beings regardless of ethnic background, religion or what part of the world they come from. The Western elites can defend themselves saying that the Panama Papers don't really prove anything, but with such arguments they simply reinforce the impression that only the poor and the idiots obediently pay their taxes.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Brexit becoming unavoidable

The Panama Papers are undermining Cameron's authority and could pose another threat to the UK's future in the EU, the centre-left daily Tages-Anzeiger fears:

“Cameron is the poster boy, the face, the motor behind the Remain campaign for Britain staying in the EU. The more credibility he loses, the less clout his office gives him. The less convincing his voice becomes. The faster the UK heads towards Brexit. Brexit supporters are already arguing that a man who can't be trusted on private money matters certainly can't be trusted when it comes to Europe. Cameron will have to extract himself from the web of suspicion as quickly as possible if he wants to win 'his' referendum.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Desperate attempt to taint Cameron

The leaks simply show that Cameron's family is wealthy, something that is neither new nor illegal, scoffs the conservative daily the Financial Times in the face of the outrage:

“Unable to find anything to suggest tax trickery by the PM, efforts are being made to taint him by association. … Campaigning journalists have also proved that not only is Mr Cameron unpleasantly well-off but his brother and sisters are too. All inherited money from their father. Frankly it’s a disgrace. We have as good as handed over Downing Street to the mafia. Mr Cameron’s opponents have always seen his background as a political weakness, presumably because it will come as a huge shock to all those voters who had thought him the son of a poor fishmonger from Bermondsey.”

The Independent (GB) /

Hypocritical PM must go

If the British Prime Minister doesn't resign of his own volition he should be removed from office with a vote of no confidence from his own party, the centre-left daily The Independent demands:

“What’s most stinging is the sheer hypocrisy of Cameron. After all, this is the man who made great efforts to increase funding for HMRC tax inspectors. … But it seems like Cameron isn’t going to do a Gunnlaugsson anytime soon. The only other option is a motion of no confidence. Perhaps this is time for Corbyn to step up to the plate - or indeed Cameron’s own party. If there were ever a time for the in-fighting Tory backbenchers to stab their leader in the back, this is it.”