Sophie Wingate, PA Political Correspondent
Sun, 22 January 2023 at 2:57 pm GMT
Labour has demanded that Rishi Sunak “come clean” over Nadhim Zahawi’s tax affairs.
Deputy leader Angela Rayner said the Prime Minister must reveal what he knew about Mr Zahawi’s settlement with HM Revenue & Customs when he appointed him Conservative Party chairman last October.
She also called for the release of all correspondence with No 10 prior to Mr Zahawi’s various appointments, to clarify whether he was chancellor at the time of the settlement, and to explain how his conduct aligns with the Ministerial Code.
Mr Zahawi, who attends Mr Sunak’s Cabinet, has admitted settling a dispute with tax authorities following a “careless” error related to a shareholding in the YouGov polling company he co-founded.
Pressure has grown on the embattled Tory chair amid claims that Cabinet Office officials had alerted then-prime minister Boris Johnson to the matter before he appointed Mr Zahawi as chancellor.
The Sun on Sunday reported he had been due to receive a knighthood in the new year’s honours list but was later blocked due to concerns over his tax situation.
Ms Rayner said: “Rishi Sunak can no longer maintain his deafening silence over Nadhim Zahawi’s tax scandal.
“The Prime Minister must now come clean on what he knew and when about Nadhim Zahawi’s tax affairs and the concerns raised with Number 10. The public have a right to know if warnings were ignored and a man deemed unfit for a knighthood was repeatedly appointed to Cabinet.
“This whole episode is corrosive to public trust, with a chancellor in charge of the nation’s finances asking the public to pay their taxes while apparently having failed to do so himself.
“Rishi Sunak is failing to deliver the integrity, professionalism and accountability he promised.
“It’s his responsibility to decontaminate his scandal-ridden Cabinet by setting out clearly what steps he has taken to ensure that all ministers’ tax affairs are in order, stamp out poor tax behaviour and provide reassurance to the public.”