Iain Dale has had a crack at a defence of Mr Goldsmith. In a blogpost entitled "Tofftastic" he says:
There was lots of sanctimonious guff on Twitter from assorted lefties last night about the Sunday Times story that Zak Goldsmith is a 'non dom'. They even tried to suggest that he should resign as a candidate or David Cameron should sack him. Er, on what grounds exactly? What law has he broken? Yup, that's right, none. His tax status is a matter between him and the tax authorities. If they are satisfied with it, it's rather difficult to see why Kerry McCarthy (for it is she) shouldn't be. In any case, Goldsmith has decided to withdraw from 'non dom' status before the election so that's rather spiked the guns of those who seek to do him down.
I'm afraid that that is just not good enough. Whilst Mr Goldsmith has indeed not broken any laws, what Iain is ignoring is how important it is that politicians are affected by the same rules that govern ordinary people. This was one of the big issues that the expenses scandal threw up that MPs were not subject to the same sort of scrutiny regarding expenses as the rest of us and Iain knows very well just how well the defence of "it was within the rules" went down there. If Mr Goldsmith has not been subject to the same tax laws as the vast majority of UK citizens then surely he has put himself in a similar category at least in the eyes of the average taxpayer.
Iain's claim that Zac's decision to withdraw from non-dom status before the election has "spiked the guns" of those who are questioning this cuts no ice with me. Reverting to domestic status at the last minute just before an election where to do otherwise would be politically suicidal does not spike anyone's guns.
I met Zac at an event we were both speaking at a couple of months ago which I blogged about here. He is a very charismatic and charming man and he has some very good, strongly held views about the environment. I liked him on a personal level and I could not really find much that he said politically that I disagreed with either. Indeed I think the Parliamentary Conservative Party would be a much better place if they had lots more MPs like him. However this revelation is immensely damaging to his campaign. It has nothing to do with the "Toff" tag as Iain is trying to imply with the title of his post and everything to do with a sense of fair play.
As Paul Walter mentioned in his blogpost on this, Mr Goldsmith's own website points out that "Zac grew up in Richmond and went to school in Richmond. He has lived in Richmond most of his life." I think many in Richmond will struggle to reconcile that statement with his tax status. You can't credibly play the local card if you don't pay tax in this country.
I think Susan Kramer's chances of retaining her seats for the Lib Dems in Richmond Park just got a lot better.