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Corbyn Hits Out At "Dodgy Individuals" But Stops Short Of Calling For Cameron To Quit

The Labour leader was campaigning in Edinburgh ahead of the Scottish election.

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Jeremy Corbyn has hit out at "dodgy individuals" who have been exposed by the Panama Papers but has stopped short of calling on David Cameron to resign.

The Labour leader, who was in Edinburgh on the Scottish election campaign trail, said he was "grateful" for the leak of the Panama Papers earlier this week which led to Cameron admitting he had owned shares in his father's offshore investment fund.

Corbyn said he didn't want to be "too personal" when it came specifically to the prime minister's tax arrangements, instead choosing to condemn the actions of a "small clique of people" who he said "dodge taxes the rest of us pay", and he praised the people who leaked the Panama Papers for "exposing the obscenity of corruption".

"It's absolutely disgraceful that while cuts to lifeline public services happen, there is a small clique of people all over Britain who seem to think they're above the law and believe that tax is always for somebody else," said Corbyn.

"Those pathetic words when somebody said 'tax is only for the little people' – I'll tell you this, let's call it out, those days are over."

The Labour leader continued: "It's a strange process when leaked papers from a Panama law firm can reveal so much of such interest of British dependent territories and many other places around the world. They've exposed much more than a few dodgy individuals and one doesn't want to be personal about those.

"What it's exposed is a systematic network of financiers, lawyers, the super-rich, and the super-corrupt, who conspire in secret to dodge the taxes the rest of us pay. I pay tribute to those who have managed to get those papers out and let the whole world see that those who think it's clever to put your money somewhere else where income tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax, and all those other taxes don't apply, is not clever.

"It's wrong, and frankly it's immoral."

Corbyn vowed to release his tax return "very, very soon" and Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale announced during her speech that she had already done so. Dudgdale's tax return is available on the Scottish Labour website.

Speaking to journalists after the event, Corbyn was questioned directly whether Cameron should resign over the revelations as thousands of people demanded at a protest outside Downing Street on Saturday afternoon.

"I think the prime minister should consider very carefully what he's said over the past five days because he's changed his position several times," said the Labour leader. "We've now reached the position where he's got to say exactly how much the family trust paid to him and benefited him.

"I think we also need to look at parliamentary rules on this so it's absolutely clear there has to be a declaration of income from overseas sources as well. At the moment it is slightly blurred."

He also called on all politicians to publish their tax returns, saying: "You should put into the public domain what your levels of income are, where it's come from, and the tax that's paid on them, that's the correct way of doing it."

Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.

Contact Jamie Ross at jamie.ross@buzzfeed.com.

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