Sack Zahawi over tax penalty, Sunak told as PM gets fined, again

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Former chancellor Nadhim Zahawi must be sacked from the cabinet say Labour after further revelations about his tax affairs.

Conservative MPs have joined calls for Zahawi to step down after it was revealed he paid a £1 million-plus penalty to settle an investigation by HMRC over non-payment of tax due.

Senior Tories have called his position “untenable” after it emerged Zahawi was forced to pay the £1 million penalty as part of a settlement totalling almost £5 million.

The Guardian reports that penalties are applied “if someone does not pay the correct tax at the right time” which would be “hugely embarrassing” for Zahawi “given his previous role as chancellor in charge of the UK’s tax system”.

The penalty is believed to be the result of non-payment of capital gains tax due following the sale of shares in polling company YouGov, which Zahawi co-founded in 2000.

The Independent is reporting that Zahawi “tried to gag” the newspaper “from revealing that he was being investigated by the National Crime Agency and HMRC last year.”

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has so far stood by the Conservative party chairman, and said earlier this week that Zahawi “has already addressed this matter in full and there’s nothing more that I can add”.

Labour has called for an inquiry into the affair and its deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “Rishi Sunak promised a government of integrity, professionalism, and accountability but instead he’s propping up a motley crew of scandal-ridden ministers.”

Rayner added: “The position of the man who was until recently in charge of the UK’s tax system and who this prime minister appointed Conservative party chair is now untenable.

“It’s time for Rishi Sunak to put his money where his mouth is and dismiss Nadhim Zahawi from his cabinet.”

Meanwhile Sunak has received a second fixed penalty notice fine from the police for breaking the law. He becomes only the second ever sitting prime minister in British history to be fined by the police – and the second in less than 12 months after Boris Johnson’s partygate fine.

Sunak – who was also fined for lockdown breaches in Downing Street – will be issued with a fixed poenalty notice by Lancashire police for not wearing his seatbelt. The PM recorded a video for social media earlier this week while seated in the back of a moving car without his belt on.

Downing Street deleted the post and issued an apology saying there had been a “brief error of judgment”.

Conservative MP Scott Benton earlier tweeted: “@LancsPolice do an amazing job, but I’m sure their time is better spent investigating serious crime which impacts on my constituents.The vast majority of people would think that politically motivated complaints about a seatbelt are not good use of frontline resources.”

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