By Alistair Smout
LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sacked Conservative Party chairman Nadhim Zahawi on Sunday after an investigation found he had failed to disclose his taxes. The serious breach investigation is the latest scandal to hit a senior minister in Sunak. tax authority HMRC last year.
Zahawi has said the tax agency ruled he had been “careless” in his declarations but had not deliberately erred to pay less tax, confirming he paid the fine to HM Revenue & Customs.
Sunak appointed Lauri Magnus, an independent adviser to Sunak, who failed to announce that his tax affairs were under investigation during his brief tenure as finance minister last year. The current minister also gave no details
“Following the completion of the independent consultant’s investigation…it is clear that the Ministerial Code has been seriously breached,” Sunak wrote to Zahavi Say.
“Therefore, I have informed you of my decision to relieve you from His Majesty’s government.”
Zahavi’s response to Sunak also did not mention and investigations by HMRC or independent consultants. He expressed concern about the behavior of some in the media in recent weeks and said he would support Sunak’s agenda as a backbench lawmaker.
“I’m sorry for the cost to my family,” he said.
Sunak’s attempt to reshuffle the government is a setback after a tumultuous year under three different British prime ministers. The investigation into alleged bullying by Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab is underway and could lead to more trouble.
A Conservative MP said firing Zahavi 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 person’s bullying is another person’s firm direction.” Raab denied the bullying allegations.
The opposition Labor Party said Sunak had shown weakness in the way he handled the cases of Zahavi and Raab.
Labor education spokesman Bridget Phillipson said on Sunday, “It is vital that we now have answers about what Rishi Sunak knew and when he knew it. “
Zahavi sacked as Sunak’s government faces decades of high inflation and a wave of public sector strikes in polls ahead of expected 2024 elections Poor performance.
False public statement
Magnus says details of HMRC’s own investigation – same as Zahawi’s in poll Co-founding of the YouGov company, and how much of his father’s shareholding backed its launch – was outside the scope of his own investigation.
But he found that Zahawi had not declared HMRC’s investigations, or acknowledged that they were a serious matter. In July last year, Zahavi described reports of his tax affairs as “clearly smearing”.
Zahavi did not correct the record until last week, when he said he had reached a settlement with the authorities.
“I do not believe that such a delay in correcting an untrue record public statement is incompatible with publicity,” Magnus said in a letter to Sunak.
He added that Zahavi was “honest, open and exemplary in being a leader through his own conduct.”
Zahavi was in Sunak last year. Became finance minister after resigning in July, helping to end Boris Johnson’s scandal-plagued prime ministership.
When Sunak succeeded Liz Truss as Prime Minister after her short and tumultuous period in power, Sunak pledged that “this government will have integrity at every level.” , professionalism and accountability.”
But the start of the reboot was tricky. In addition to the Zahawi and Raab investigations, Sunak has also reappointed Home Affairs Minister Suella Braverman after Truss fired her for violating a ministerial code on security rules. In November, Interior Secretary Gavin Williamson resigned amid bullying allegations.
Asked whether Conservative politicians always play by their own set of rules, Senior Minister Michael Gove said “there will always be people who don’t”.
“Just because someone has committed a fault or a crime, it should not automatically be seen as an opportunity to curse the whole organisation,” he told the BBC.