Rishi Sunak Removes His Cabinet Minister Over Breach Of Ministerial Code


London: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Sunday fired one of his Cabinet ministers and Conservative Party chairman, Nadhim Zahawi, after he was found to have been in “serious breach” of the Ministerial Code on how he handled his personal tax affairs.

Zahawi, who was a minister without portfolio as the chief of the governing Tory party, had faced fierce pressure in recent days to quit over questions about his finances after it emerged that he had agreed a 4.8 million pounds penalty settlement with His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) department.

Sunak had ordered an independent investigation into the 55-year-old Iraq-born former Chancellor’s tax affairs amid growing Opposition demands for him to sack Zahawi.

His independent ethics adviser, Sir Laurie Magnus, submitted his assessment on whether the HMRC settlement amounted to a breach of the ministerial code.

When I became Prime Minister last year, I pledged that the government I lead would have integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level, writes Sunak in his letter to Zahawi, released by Downing Street.

“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,” he said.

He added that Zahawi should be “extremely proud” of his “wide-ranging achievements in government over the last five years”, particularly crediting his “successful oversight of the COVID-19 vaccine procurement and deployment programme”.

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