Adhim Zahawi is in growing political trouble over his tax matters, as pressure mounts on Rishi Sunak to sack him as Tory party chairman.
Labor is demanding that the Prime Minister explain his knowledge of Mr Zahavi’s dispute with HM Revenue and Customs when he appointed him to the role.
This and a series of other scandals have shattered Mr Sunak’s promise of an “integrity” premiere.
Every hour Rishi Sunak refuses to sack him shows how weak the PM is
A loud weekend began for the prime minister with police fining him for failing to put on a seatbelt while filming a social media video in the back of a moving car.
BBC chairman Richard Sharp faces fresh allegations of impropriety at the Conservative Party amid claims he helped secure a loan to Boris Johnson – weeks before the then prime minister recommended him for the role.
Mr Johnson also caused a headache for Mr Sunak with an unannounced trip to Ukraine on Sunday.
Although Downing Street said the Prime Minister was “supportive”, the visit suggested that his authority was being undermined.
Even after the troubled cabinet minister issued a statement to “clear up some confusion about my finances”, questions continued to swirl about Mr Zahavi’s settlement with tax authorities.
He admitted that after HMRC had paid what “was due”, he “disagreed about the exact allocation” of shares in the YouGov polling company which he co-founded, an error he noted ” The negligence” was not intentional.
But he did not disclose the size of the settlement – reported to be an estimated £4.8 million including a 30% penalty – or whether he paid the fine.
It appears from the statement that at the time of the settlement he was Mr Johnson’s chancellor and in charge of HMRC.
Labor called on Number 10 to publish all correspondence relating to his various government appointments.
Deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “The prime minister must now clarify what he knew and when about Nadim Zahavi’s tax matters and the concerns raised with Number 10…
“This whole episode is corrosive to public confidence, with the Chancellor in charge of the country’s finances asking the public to pay their taxes, whilst apparently failing to do so.”
Ms Reiner accused Mr Sunak of “failing to deliver integrity, professionalism and accountability” when he entered No 10 after Mr Johnson’s scandal-plagued premiership.
Labor Party chair Anneliese Dodds said: “His (Mr Zahavi’s) position is clearly untenable.
“The hour Rishi Sunak refuses to sack him shows how weak the prime minister is.”
James tactfully insisted that Mr Zahawi would remain in office until Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.
The foreign secretary claimed to know nothing about his cabinet colleague’s tax situation beyond Mr Zahavi’s statement when he was repeatedly pressed during the broadcast round on Sunday morning.
Other Tories, including former party leader Iain Duncan Smith, said Mr Zahavi should have shared more information.
Former minister Tim Lawton told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour: “I think it is fair that he (Mr Zahavi) should be allowed to have his say and put forward his side of the matter. It would have been more helpful if he had Would have already done perfectly.
The Sun reported on Sunday that Mr Zahavi was due to receive a knighthood in the New Year’s honors list, but was later put on hold because of concerns over his tax status.
(tagsto be translated) Nadim Zahawi