BBC pulls panorama programme on Ashcroft

The BBC pulled an edition of its Panorama programme about the financial affairs of controversial Tory backer Lord Ashcroft just hours before it was due to be broadcast.

The show – meant to have gone out last night – was withdrawn after receiving a response earlier in the day to a question about a share interest transfer, the broadcaster said.

The BBC said the answer “shed new light” on the issue and it would be reviewing the programme.

Billionaire Lord Ashcroft helped finance the Conservative election campaign.

He was dragged into a tax row earlier this year after confirming he had “non-dom” status and had not been paying UK income tax on his worldwide earnings.

Earlier this month it emerged he would be standing down as the party’s deputy chairman.

Last night’s Panorama was replaced with another edition about UK military justice.

A BBC spokesman said: “We put a number of questions to Lord Ashcroft two weeks ago, including one relating to a share interest transfer.

“We asked for a response by Friday September 24. In a response received (yesterday) afternoon we have been given information that sheds new light on that issue and we will therefore review the programme.”

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