A MAJOR backer of the Tory General Election campaign should resign after admitting he did not pay tax on the majority of his UK income, Pendle’s MP hags said.

Lord Ashcroft, the Conservatives’ deputy chairman, has bankrolled his party’s bid to secure the Nelson, Colne and West Craven seat to the tune of £50,000 to £60,000.

And yesterday he admitted, in a statement to the House of Lords, that his tax status was as a ‘non-dom’, meaning he is not a permanent resident for tax purposes.

Lord Ashcroft argued that his position mirrored that of key Labour donors Lord Paul, a privy councillor, and Sir Ronald Cohen.

But Gordon Prentice, Pendle’s Labour MP, who has led public calls for the former UN envoy to come clean about his tax affairs, has urged him to resign from the House of Lords.

Mr Prentice said: “Ashcroft has dissembled for a decade, concealing the fact that he is a non dom.

“He promised to take up long-term residence in the UK as a condition of his peerage – and that means paying UK taxes like the rest of us.

“He has been bank-rolling the Conservatives for years, buying the election with his huge wealth, most of which is untaxed in the UK.”

Last year the Lancashire Telegraph revealed that Lord Ashcroft was supporting the parliamentary campaign of Colne-based Conservative Andrew Stephenson.

Mr Prentice claimed the peer was trying to ‘buy’ the next election, claims which Mr Stephenson condemned as ‘insulting’.

But it did emerge that the Conservative candidate was receiving between £50,000 and £60,000 for party work in the constituency through Ashcroft’s Bearwood Corporate Services.

Tory chiefs have insisted that the peer’s donations are permissible and legal.

Ashcroft and the Shadow Cabinet have dodged questions about his tax status for months.

Mr Stephenson said: “I am pleased that Lord Ashcroft has clarified his tax status, a status that he shares with numerous Labour Party donors.

“The Labour Party will clearly continue to make cheap political points about Lord Ashcroft.

"However, what the Labour Party say is very far removed from what they actually do.

“Latest figures show that since 2001, Labour have taken over £10 million from eight reportedly ‘non-dom’ donors.”