British Prime Minister Sunak dismissed party chairman Zahavi over tax issues

British Prime Minister Sunak dismissed party chairman Zahavi over tax issues
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  • It turned out that Zahavi was not open about the tax investigation
  • An independent consultant detects serious code violations
  • Investigations on the Deputy Prime Minister are ongoing
  • The scandal is damaging Prime Minister Sunak’s reset bid

LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak fired Conservative Party leader Nadhim Zahawi on Sunday after finding him guilty of serious misconduct by not being forthcoming about a tax probe, the latest scandal to hit one of Sunak’s most senior ministers. sent.

Sunak stood by Zahavi before ordering an independent consultant to look into questions about his tax affairs last year after it emerged he was under investigation by England’s tax authority HMRC.

Zahawi said the tax authority ruled that he was “careless” with his declarations, but that he did not intentionally make mistakes in order to pay less tax. paid a fine to HMRC.

Laurie Magnus, Sunak’s independent adviser, said Zahavi did not disclose that his tax affairs were being investigated when he was briefly appointed finance minister last year, and Sunak did not disclose the details when he appointed him to his current post.

“After the completion of the independent consultant’s investigation… it is clear that the Ministerial Code has been seriously violated,” Sunak said in a letter to Zahavi.

“As a result, I have informed you that I have decided to remove you from your position in His Majesty’s Government.”

Zahavi’s response to Sunak made no mention of an investigation by either HMRC or an independent consultant. He expressed concern about the behavior of some in the media in recent weeks and said he would support Sunak’s agenda as a deputy.

“I apologize to my family for the hurt this has caused them,” he said.

It is a setback for Sunak’s bid to reshuffle the government after a chaotic year that has seen three different British prime ministers. Investigation allegation of violence It is being continued by Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab and could cause more headaches.

One conservative MP said Zahavi’s resignation was “clearly the right decision”, adding that Zahavi “should have resigned to avoid embarrassment”.

“Raab is quite different,” said the lawmaker, who asked not to be named. “One man’s violence is another’s decisive direction.” Raab you denied allegations of violence.

The opposition Labor Party said Sunak’s handling of the Zahawi and Raab cases was lax.

British minister without portfolio Nadhim Zahawi looks on outside the Conservative Party headquarters in London, January 23, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

“It is vital that we get answers now about what Rishi Sunak knew and when he knew it,” Labor’s education spokeswoman Bridget Phillipson said on Sunday.

Zahavi’s dismissal comes as Sunak’s government, which is facing decades-high inflation and a wave of public sector strikes, is lagging badly in opinion polls ahead of elections expected in 2024.


Magnus said the details of HMRC’s own investigation – into Zahavi’s co-founding of opinion polling firm YouGov in 2000 and how much stock his father took to launch it – were beyond the scope of his own investigation.

But he found that Zahavi had not declared that HMRC was investigating the cases or acknowledged that they were a serious matter. Zahawi described reports of the tax affairs last July as “clearly a hoax”.

Zahawi did not correct the memo until last week, when he said he had reached an agreement with authorities.

“I believe that the delay in correcting an untrue public statement does not meet the requirement of openness,” Magnus said in his letter to Sunak.

He added that Zahavi “showed insufficient attention” to the requirement to “be an honest, open and exemplary leader in his conduct”.

Zahavi became finance minister after Sunak resigned last July, helping to end Boris Johnson’s scandal-ridden prime ministership.

When he replaced Liz Truss as prime minister after her brief but tumultuous tenure, Sunak promised that “this government will have integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level”.

But the reboot got off to a rough start. Along with investigations into Zahavi and Raab, Sunak reappointed Interior Minister Suella Braverman. five days After Truss sacked him for breaching the ministerial code of conduct on safety rules, and in November, minister Gavin Williamson resigned over allegations of violence.

Asked whether Conservative politicians were consistently following their rules, senior minister Michael Gove said there were “people who will always fail”.

“Just because someone makes a mistake or a sin, it shouldn’t automatically be taken as an opportunity to damn the whole organization,” he told the BBC.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; Additional reporting by Elizabeth Piper Editing by Alison Williams and Toby Chopra

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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