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Prime minister orders ethics adviser to investigate Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi





PRIME minister Rishi Sunak has ordered an investigation into Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi following scrutiny about a tax dispute.

Mr Zahawi will continue as Conservative Party chairman while the investigation, to be carried out by new ethics adviser Sir Laurie Magnus, is completed.

Mr Sunak made the announcement today (Monday), stating that the investigation will assess whether Mr Zahawi breached the ministerial code with the HMRC settlement.

Stratford MP and Chairman of the Conservative Party Nadhim Zahawi taking questions from students at Stratford Girls’ Grammar School last Friday. Photo: Mark Williamson. (62000726)
Stratford MP and Chairman of the Conservative Party Nadhim Zahawi taking questions from students at Stratford Girls’ Grammar School last Friday. Photo: Mark Williamson. (62000726)

The announcement was made during the prime minister’s visit to a Northampton hospital.

Mr Sunak said: “Integrity and accountability is really important to me and clearly in this case there are questions that need answering.

“That’s why I’ve asked our independent adviser to get to the bottom of everything, to investigate the matter fully and establish all the facts and provide advice to me on Nadhim Zahawi’s compliance with the ministerial code.

“I’m pleased that Nadhim Zahawi has agreed with that approach and has agreed to fully co-operate with that investigation.”

Labour had been calling for the prime minister to sack the Conservative Party chairman who has been under pressure to give details about his tax payment, thought to be about £4.8million, including a penalty.

Mr Zahawi released a statement over the weekend to “address some of the confusion” about his finances.

While he admitted he paid a settlement to HM Revenue & Customs, the multi-millionaire said this resulted from a “careless and not deliberate” tax error related to his father’s shareholding in the polling company he co-founded, YouGov.

The former chancellor released a statement on Saturday said when he set up YouGov in 2000, his father took founder shares.

“Twenty one years later, when I was being appointed chancellor of the Exchequer, questions were being raised about my tax affairs,” he said. “I discussed this with the cabinet office at the time.

“Following discussions with HMRC, they agreed that my father was entitled to founder shares in YouGov, though they disagreed about the exact allocation. They concluded that this was a ‘careless and not deliberate’ error.

“So that I could focus on my life as a public servant, I chose to settle the matter and pay what they said was due, which was the right thing to do.”

Mr Zahawi said the matter was resolved and added that “all my tax affairs were up to date” by the time he became Chancellor of Duchy of Lancaster in September.

While Mr Zahawi is resisting pressure to step down as chairman of the Conservative Party, one Stratford Tory party insider said the MP is unlikely to face similar pressure in his constituency.



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