Picture: Dan Kitwood - WPA Pool /Getty Images
Picture: Dan Kitwood - WPA Pool /Getty Images

The prime minister has admitted that he benefited from the offshore holdings set up by his late father, Ian Cameron, which were revealed in the Panama Papers.

David Cameron admitted, four days after the initial leak, that he owned shares in the tax haven investment fund, Blairmore Holdings Inc, which he sold in January 2010 for £31,500.

In an interview with ITV News' Robert Peston, he said:

I was keen in 2010 to sell everything – shares, all the rest of it – so I can be very transparent. I don’t own any part of any company or any investment trust or anything else like that.

But that admission wasn't so forthcoming earlier in the week, with Number 10 releasing several different statements without revealing the full truth:

Monday:

A spokesperson for Mr Cameron said:

That is a private matter.

Tuesday morning:

I have no shares, no offshore funds, nothing like that. And, so that, I think, is a very clear description.

Tuesday afternoon:

A statement from Downing Street read:

To be clear, the prime minister, his wife and their children do not benefit from any offshore funds. The prime minister owns no shares. As has been previously reported, Mrs Cameron owns a small number of shares connected to her father's land, which she declares on her tax return.

Wednesday:

Another statement from Downing Street read:

There are no offshore funds/trusts which the prime minister, Mrs Cameron or their children will benefit from in future.

Thursday:

The prime minister told ITV News:

We owned 5,000 units in Blairmore Investment Trust, which we sold in January 2010.

Cameron paid all the UK taxes on the income from his shares, and although he didn't declare the shares in the Parliamentary Register of Members interests, he wasn't required to, as they were less than £70,000 worth or 15 per cent of the partnership.

So while he hasn't done anything illegal by tax and parliamentary standards, he's taken a long time to be forthcoming with the information which clashes horribly with the "All in this together" mantra.

An online YouGov poll published Wednesday showed a majority thought Blairmore financial dealings reflected poorly on the prime minister:

While betting firms are drawing up odds on a Cameron resignation or forced departure - which some people see as a good wager.

Overall, it's been a very bad week for the usually PR-savvy prime minister.

Picture: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images
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