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    Demonstrators hold placards during a protest outside Downing Street in Whitehall, central London, Britain April 9, 2016.

    Cameron Misled the Country, But He Won't Step Down, Sputnik Told

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    #PanamaPapers: Biggest Ever Offshore Leaks (94)

    Faced with a parliamentary grilling, public ridicule and calls to resign over his links with offshore trust funds, commentators have described British Prime Minister David Cameron's situation as "poisonous." Despite the anger the PM faces, it is unlikely that he will step down, Sputnik has been told.

    With public anger still boiling following revelations that Cameron had previously owned shares in Blairmore Holdings — a Bahamas-based trust set up by his late father, Ian — the PM has been under increased pressure to be more transparent about his past financial dealings.

    ​While criticism has been focused at Cameron's involvement in offshore trust funds, many critics have been incensed at the prime minister's handling of the matter.

    "Mr Cameron has not dealt with the situation particularly well, it's caught him off-guard… and he's been on the back foot since the [Panama] Papers were released, British political journalist, Shehab Khan, told Sputnik.

    "Since the papers have been released, he [Cameron] has been delaying, he's changed the story multiple times; he started off claiming it was a private matter, he then moved on to say that he owned no shares, he then moved on to say that he wouldn't own shares in the future until we found out on Thursday that he has invested in an offshore unit trust.

    "He hasn't handled the situation particularly well and people haven't responded particularly well to the way he's dealt with it."

    Situation is 'Poisonous'

    As a result of the revelations, and the PM's subsequent handling of the situation, some opposition MPs have called for Cameron to resign from office, while thousands of protesters took to the streets of London over the weekend, calling on the PM to stand down.

    Despite the pressure on the prime minister, Mr Khan told Sputnik the chances of the prime minister standing down were slim.

    "He didn't declare his interest, he has misled the country, but the chances of him actually resigning are very very small. He's not standing for re-election in 2020, he's told us that he will stand down before the next general election. He hasn't lost the support of his own MPs — his party still back him, so the chances are that he'll just ignore the calls for his resignation.

    "The situation is very poisonous, his reputation has been tarnished, however the reputation of his party haven't, so if he clings onto power, this situation won't have an effect on the general election and that's what he'll be hoping."

    Public Upset at the Hypocrisy

    While Cameron may survive as PM in the short-term, this "poisonous" situation has unleashed a deep-seated anger brewing inside British society, according to Khan, who says the public's response has been very clear.

    "People took to the streets of London to call for his resignation — people aren't happy with it. Where most of the country have been struggling with austerity and have faced cuts, the top one percent have been avoiding paying tax and avoiding paying back into the system," Khan told Sputnik.

    "People aren't happy with a) the way David Cameron has handled the situation and b) the hypocrisy of the situation itself. We found out earlier this week that he actually intervened to oppose beneficiaries of offshore trusts from being named in proposed EU money laundering laws. This is at the same time as him claiming that he's going to be hosting an anti-corruption summit and taking extra steps to tackle tax evasion. The rhetoric is saying one thing, and he's behaving in completely the opposite way.

    "The entire country has been misled and the country isn't happy about it."

    And while the PM faced a public grilling by MPs in the House of Commons on Monday, Khan says the prime minister's former skills as public relations (PR) consultant are coming into play.

    "It's very important to understand the difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance. He's putting a policy forward to tackle tax evasion, but what he did himself was tax avoidance — two very different things, and again trying to divert attention away from himself."

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    domestic politics, tax haven, tax evasion, leaked documents, business, resignation, Panama papers, David Cameron, Great Britain, Europe, United Kingdom
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