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Has sleaze adviser ALREADY cleared Sunak? Allies say Lord Geidt knew about family finances

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Rishi Sunak may have referred himself to the ministerial sleaze watchdog over his family tax affairs knowing he had already been cleared, it emerged today.

The Chancellor is facing growing anger and questions over his wife’s non-dom tax status and his own personal use of a US Green Card immigration visa.

The Prime Minister gave the go-ahead yesterday for the Government’s ethics chief to probe the Chancellor’s family finances. 

But allies of Mr Sunak have told the Times that the arrangements were cleared by Lord Geidt when he was appointed last year.

In his May 2021 annual statement the independent adviser on ministers interests said he had ‘gone through the individual returns’ of members of the Cabinet, including their tax affairs and the interested of their spouses.

He went on to say that ‘any issues have been resolved to my satisfaction’, suggesting he was happy with Akshata Murty’s tax status, her shareholding in Indian tech firm Infosys, and the Green Card. 

It came as the Chancellor faced pressure from Tory colleagues to publish his own tax returns as he fights to keep his job. 

Party figures suggested he should follow the example of George Osborne who as chancellor published a summary of his tax return. 

Calls mount for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to publish his tax returns amid a row over how much tax his family has paid in the UK. The Prime Minister gave the go-ahead yesterday for the Government’s ethics chief to probe the Chancellor’s family finances

Calls mount for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to publish his tax returns amid a row over how much tax his family has paid in the UK. The Prime Minister gave the go-ahead yesterday for the Government’s ethics chief to probe the Chancellor’s family finances

In his May 2021 annual statement the independent adviser on ministers interests said he had'gone through the individual returns' of members of the Cabinet, including their tax affairs and the interested of their spouses.

In his May 2021 annual statement the independent adviser on ministers interests said he had ‘gone through the individual returns’ of members of the Cabinet, including their tax affairs and the interested of their spouses.

Former UK Chancellor George Osborn previously published his tax returns when he held the position, as did Boris Johnson when he was Mayor of London. Sunak is pictured holding a Q&A with local residents and businesses at Darlington College

Former UK Chancellor George Osborn previously published his tax returns when he held the position, as did Boris Johnson when he was Mayor of London. Sunak is pictured holding a Q&A with local residents and businesses at Darlington College

Baroness Altmann said it was ‘essential’ that Mr Sunak published his filings to address the concerns of voters.

The Tory former pensions minister said: ‘I am always in favour of proper transparency, especially with respect to tax from a chancellor of the exchequer. That is just essential, isn’t it?

‘I imagine the Chancellor is mortified at what is going on, if publishing his tax return will assist in drawing a line under it then so much the better.’

She added: ‘There is so much anger out there. It is important for the public to see that the Chancellor has paid his fair share of taxes, that his family has not been trying to play fast and loose with the rules, and that there is not one rule for the people at the top and another for everyone else.

The Chancellor had been doing a really good job until this episode, but we do need to have confidence in the people at the top of government.’

One minister said: ‘This row has dragged on for too long already, he needs to draw a line under it immediately.’

A Cabinet source added: ‘We can all see where this is heading. The more cloak and dagger he is, the more colleagues will worry something is up.’

The scandal comes amid rising energy costs when British taxpayers are facing increasingly high payment. Parliamentary members say their constituents are asking if the Chancellor is paying his fair share after it emerged his wife Akshata Murty’s formerly had non-dom status

The scandal comes amid rising energy costs when British taxpayers are facing increasingly high payment. Parliamentary members say their constituents are asking if the Chancellor is paying his fair share after it emerged his wife Akshata Murty’s formerly had non-dom status

The cost of living crisis has been made worse by the war in Ukraine, forcing European nations including Britain to swear off Russian gas and oil, throttling prices. Certain food items are also expected to rise in price because of the Russian attack, worsening inflation across Europe

The cost of living crisis has been made worse by the war in Ukraine, forcing European nations including Britain to swear off Russian gas and oil, throttling prices. Certain food items are also expected to rise in price because of the Russian attack, worsening inflation across Europe

Downing Street yesterday said Boris Johnson was not in favour of forcing ministers to publish their tax records, even though he did so himself as London mayor.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘In line with the ministerial code, the Prime Minister and all ministers provide information about their tax affairs. These are reviewed by the Cabinet Office and the independent adviser on ministerial interests.’

Mr Johnson agreed to a request from the Chancellor to launch an investigation to establish whether he had properly declared his family’s financial interests.

Mr Sunak, who has faced a backlash over his wife Akshata Murty’s former non-dom status, said his ‘over-riding concern’ was to retain public confidence.

He visited Darlington yesterday to name the final two sites hoping to be the Treasury outpost in the town.

The probe, which will be led by Lord Geidt, the PM’s sleaze-busting adviser on ministerial interests, will examine whether the Chancellor declared all the relevant information about his finances needed to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

The investigation has been given the go-ahead even though the Government previously claimed Lord Geidt was content with Mr Sunak’s declarations.

Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer said the issues around the Chancellor’s tax affairs were a ‘matter of real fairness’.

‘I don’t have any non-doms in the Shadow Cabinet because I understand the fairness of the issue,’ he added.

Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy are pictured. Murthy recently confirmed she had held non-dom status, going on to apologise on Twitter

Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy are pictured. Murthy recently confirmed she had held non-dom status, going on to apologise on Twitter

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