Sir James Dyson denies claims he asked Boris Johnson for “tax favours”

Billionaire entrepreneur Sir James Dyson has dismissed claims he was trying to extract favours from Boris Johnson as “completely untrue”.

The inventor was caught up in a lobbying row after the PM reportedly promised he’d “fix” a tax problem while Sir James’ team was making much needed ventilators.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Sir James said:

“(The) characterisation of me as a prominent Conservative donor, or supporter, leveraging a position of power to extract favours from the Prime Minister, is completely untrue.

“I would change nothing about how Dyson reacted to this country’s Covid crisis.

“And you need only look at the UK’s vaccine programme to understand the value of independent action which can be swift, decisive and transcend global boundaries.

“Thousands of companies and millions of individuals have gone above and beyond in responding to this crisis.

“This should not be diminished by politically motivated mud-slinging after the event.”

Sir James said he tasked a team of 450 people to work on the ventilators.

Among the many questions raised one concerned tax payments.

Sir James said:

“It was in this context that we wrote formally to the Chancellor on March 15th for clarification on how UK tax rules would apply during this period of unprecedented upheaval.

“We did not wait for a response and started work immediately.”

Sir James insisted he was not seeking favours.

He added his Singapore based HQ even passed up the opportunity of remuneration for the work.

He said: “We voluntarily forwent the chance to reclaim £20 million of costs from the Government.

“(Yet) it has been argued that, in the PM’s direct dealings with me, I was seeking some kind of preferment.

“What favours did anyone believe I was exacting from contact with the Prime Minister as part of a project where Dyson voluntarily donated £20 million of its resources?”

About the Author

Philip Braund spent 16 years at the Daily Mirror as a reporter and news editor before moving to ITV. He was the series producer of the ground-breaking investigation programme The Cook Report, Managing Editor at ITV’s Millbank Studios, and Head of News at ITV Central. He has won national and regional Royal Television Society awards for documentaries.