After investigation, it was clear that Nadhim Zahawi had not been adequately transparent about a tax investigation he had settled while serving as finance minister, leading to his dismissal from the cabinet by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. In an uncomfortable incident, Mr. Sunak first supported Mr. Zahawi before ordering an independent consultant to investigate concerns about his tax issues after learning Mr. Zahawi had resolved an HMRC investigation last year.
According to Mr. Zahawi, the tax authority determined that while he had been “careless” with his filings, he hadn’t purposefully committed an error to pay less tax.
However, Laurie Magnus, an independent adviser to Mr. Sunak, claimed that Mr. Zahawi neglected to divulge information when Mr. Sunak promoted him to his present position and failed to reveal that his tax troubles were under investigation when he was briefly designated finance minister last year. As a result, I have informed you of my decision to remove you from your position in His Majesty’s Government,” said Pm Sunak. Mr Zahawi’s response to Mr Sunak did not mention either the HMRC or the independent adviser’s investigation.
He indicated he would support Mr. Sunak’s as a backbencher and expressed alarm over recent media behavior by some. I’m sorry for the toll this has taken on my family, he remarked.
Mr. Zahawi should have resigned sooner, according to the opposition Labour Party and several of Mr. Sunak’s own Conservative politicians, as Mr. Sunak awaited Mr. Magnus’ investigation’s findings. “It’s vital that we now get answers to what Rishi Sunak knew and when did he know it,” Labour’s education spokesperson Bridget Phillipson said on Sunday.
Mr. Zahawi’s dismissal occurs as Mr. Sunak’s government, which is dealing with decades-high inflation and a wave of public sector strikes, is performing poorly in surveys in advance of a predicted election in 2024.
Mr. Magnus asserted that the specifics of HMRC’s own investigation, which focused on Mr. Zahawi’s co-founding of the opinion research company YouGov in 2000 and the number of shares his father had purchased to promote its debut, were outside the purview of his own probe. But he found that Mr Zahawi had not disclosed or acknowledged that HMRC was looking into his activities, which was a severe problem. Not until last week, when he claimed to have achieved a deal with the authorities, did he update the record. He added that the latter had shown “insufficient regard” for the requirement “to be honest, open and an exemplary leader through his own behaviour”.