London: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has sacked the Conservative party chair, Nadhim Zahawi, after he was found to have breached the ministerial code by failing to declare the HMRC investigation into his tax affairs, the media reported.
An investigation by the UK Prime Minister’s ethics adviser, Laurie Magnus, concluded that Zahawi had made a “serious breach” of the code by not telling officials he was under investigation by the tax body when he was appointed chancellor by former PM Boris Johnson, The Guardian reported.
He had also failed to officially declare that he paid a settlement to HMRC for tax avoidance when he was given cabinet positions by Liz Truss last September and when Sunak made him Tory chair and minister without portfolio in September, The Guardian reported.
His departure comes after a damaging few weeks for Sunak, who had pledged “integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level” of his government on entering No 10 but was facing growing calls to sack Zahawi over his tax affairs.
Sunak’s judgment for re-appointing Zahawi has come under question from some Conservative MPs, while others felt that the prime minister, who acted within hours of receiving Magnus’ report on Sunday morning, should have sacked him sooner, The Guardian reported.
He also continues to face scrutiny over what he knew about the minister’s tax affairs and when, amid suggestions he was told there could be a reputational risk to the government when he appointed him in October.