Nadhim Zahawi has been sacked as the Tory party chairman after it was found in an investigation into his tax affairs that there was a “serious breach of the Ministerial Code.”
Zahawi had paid an estimated £4.8 million settlement with HMRC and the ethics advisor, Sir Laurie Magnus was asked to investigate the matter.
Sir Laurie wrote to the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak saying, the conclusion of the probe found that Zahawi had “shown insufficient regard for the general principles of the Ministerial Code.”
Sunak said that it is “clear that there has been a serious breach of the Ministerial Code,” following Sir Laurie’s findings.
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Sir Laurie wrote in his report, “Given the nature of the investigation by HMRC, which started prior to his appointment as secretary of state for education on 15 September 2021, I consider that by failing to declare HMRC’s ongoing investigation before July 2022 – despite the ministerial declaration of interests form including specific prompts on tax affairs and HMRC investigations and disputes – Mr Zahawi failed to meet the requirement to declare any interests which might be thought to give rise to a conflict.”
Sir Laurie told the Prime Minister, “I also conclude that, in the appointments process for the governments formed in September 2022 and October 2022, Mr Zahawi failed to disclose relevant information – in this case the nature of the investigation and its outcome in a penalty – at the time of his appointment, including to cabinet office officials who support that process.
“Without knowledge of that information, the cabinet office was not in a position to inform the appointing Prime Minister.”
Sunak wrote, “When I became prime minister last year, I pledged that the government I lead would have integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level.
“That is why, following new information which came to light in recent days regarding your personal financial arrangements and declarations, I asked Sir Laurie Magnus, the Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests, to fully investigate this matter.
“You agreed and undertook to cooperate fully with the inquiry.
“Following the completion of the independent adviser’s investigation – the findings of which he has shared with us both – it is clear that there has been a serious breach of the Ministerial Code.
“As a result, I have informed you of my decision to remove you from your position in His Majesty’s Government.”