Monday afternoon’s debate in Parliament over the Panama Papers scandal was an open discussion of the role of wealth and privilege in Britain.
Prime Minister David Cameron is a graduate of Eton College, one of the country’s most prestigious boarding schools, and of Oxford University.
Mr. Cameron had said, in the days since the revelations from the Panama Papers, “I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m a very lucky person.”
“I had wealthy parents who gave me a great upbringing, who paid for me to go to an amazing school,” he said. “I’ve never tried to be anything that I’m not.”
Still, the news that his father had an offshore investment company, and that the prime minister had sold shares in the fund at a profit, has been embarrassing for the Conservative Party.
One member of the party, Michael Fabricant, who represents the Lichfield constituency in Staffordshire in the West Midlands, came to Mr. Cameron’s defense.
“He should not be ashamed that the had the good fortune to be born into a well-off family,” Mr. Fabricant said. “It’s not a sin for his parents, quite naturally, to want their savings to be cascaded down through the generations. He has nothing to be ashamed of.”
Mr. Fabricant said: “No matter how much information he wants to divulge, nothing will satisfy some of those people on the Labour front bench.”
Mr. Cameron used the opportunity to reiterate his earlier position that existing disclosure rules for members of Parliament were adequate. He noted that he had fended off demands that lawmakers and cabinet members be required to disclose all of their personal financial interests.
While members of the Labour Party have moved further to the left in recent years — notably by electing Jeremy Corbyn, a far-left backbencher, as the party’s leader last year — the Conservative Party has tried to position itself as being in the center of the political spectrum.
Just this month, Mr. Cameron noted, the government raised the standard personal allowance — the amount of income individuals do not have to pay tax on — to £11,000, or about $15,700, from £10,600.