Sunak refers ministerial interests to the PM’s independent adviser

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Sunak said his “overriding concern” was to retain public confidence in the answers that were given.

Rishi Sunak refers ministerial interests to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s independent adviser Getty Images
Sunak: Refers ministerial interests to adviser.

Rishi Sunak has asked Boris Johnson to refer his ministerial declarations to the Prime Minister’s independent adviser on ministerial interests.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the Chancellor said: “I have always followed the rules and I hope such a review will provide further clarity.”

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Sunak said his “overriding concern” was to retain public confidence in the answers that were given.

The move followed accusations by Labour of a potential conflict of interests following the disclosures that his wife was “non-domiciled” for tax purposes and that he retained a US green card while Chancellor.

In his letter, Sunak requested that the independent adviser Lord Geidt review each of the declarations of interest which he had made since first becoming minister and reach a judgment on whether they were properly declared.

“My overriding concern is that the public retain confidence in the answers that are given and I believe the best way of achieving this is to ensure those answers are entirely independent, without bias or favour,” he said.

“To that end I would recommend that Lord Geidt makes all his conclusions public.

“I am confident that such a review of my declarations will find all relevant information was appropriately declared.

“I have throughout my ministerial career followed the advice of officials regarding matters or propriety and disclosure and will continue to do so.”

The latest move by the beleaguered Chancellor comes less than 24 hours after it emerged that he had ordered a full scale Whitehall inquiry into who leaked details of his wife’s tax status to the media.

On Friday, Akshata Murty, who remains an Indian citizen, dramatically announced that she would now pay UK taxes on all her worldwide income as she did not want the issue to be a distraction for her husband.

However that failed to stem the tide of criticism, with Labour accusing Sunak of hypocrisy in benefiting from a scheme which enables his family to save millions of pounds in taxes while he putting up taxes for others.

He also continued to face questions as to why he retained his green card – entitling him to permanent residence in the United States as well as making him liable to pay taxes there – when he was Chancellor.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has written to Johnson and Lord Geidt with a detailed series of questions which, she said, needed to be answered.

They included whether Sunak had ever benefited from the use of tax havens – particularly when he ran hedge funds before he was an MP – and whether he had received any updates on his blind trust since becoming Chancellor.

She also questioned whether Sunak had made a legal promise to the US when he received his green card that it was his permanent residence, and, if so, whether he was legally a permanent US resident when he entered Parliament and became a minister.

And she sought an assurance that the Chancellor and his family would provide “full transparency” on all their overseas income and where they pay tax on it.

She said: “The chaos caused by the Conservatives over the last week must be brought to an end.

“A fish rots from the head. It is the Prime Minister’s responsibility to bring this debacle to a close by ensuring that standards are upheld across his Cabinet.

“When it comes to the Tories hiking up taxes on working people, it seems it is one rule for them and another for the rest of us.”

More on