Richard Murphy, an economist and accountant who runs Tax Research UK and studies tax avoidance by multi-nationals, says: ‘Dave Hartnett was at one time the taxman’s taxman — really tough on tax avoiders. I got to know him quite well, and dined with him at The Cinnamon Club. He could be charismatic and at the same time arrogant. He was very much the main man and the boss.
‘But he became far too cosy with the big accounting firms from 2008 onwards. He could see they were all making more money than him.
‘He became too friendly with the business community. It was inappropriate. He spent far too much time in The Cinnamon Club — that seemed to change his attitude to business. It was probably quite convenient for him when he had to retire from HMRC and could go into business for himself.’
And he’s describing himself as an economist these days, is he?