Nadhim Zahawi sacked by PM Rishi Sunak
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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sacked his Party Chairman Nadhim Zahawi on Sunday, after it was found he had made a “serious breach” of the ministerial code by failing to declare his tax affairs. Mr Sunak said the findings by his independent adviser on ministers’ interests Sir Laurie Magnus were conclusive. A recent Express.co.uk poll has found that almost three-quarters of readers thought Mr Zahawi should have resigned from his position.
In a letter to Mr Zahawi published by Downing Street on Sunday morning, Mr Sunak said he intervened on the matter to ensure his Government maintained “integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level”.
Last Monday Mr Sunak asked his independent adviser to conduct an investigation into Mr Zahawi’s taxes after it was revealed the MP paid an estimated £5million settlement in addition to a penalty to HMRC for tax avoidance last summer.
Mr Sunak wrote: “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.”
In response, Mr Zahawi said he would continue to serve as an MP for Stratford-on-Avon and wrote to Mr Sunak: “You can be assured of my support from the backbenches in the coming years.”
In the build up to this conclusion, as Mr Zahawi dominated headlines and calls rang out for his resignation, Express.co.uk asked readers in poll — that ran from 10.30am on Monday, January 23, to 11.30am on Monday, January 30 — “Should Nadhim Zahawi resign over tax row?”
OVerall, 8,307 votes were cast with the vast majority of readers, 73 percent (6,071 people) answering “yes” Mr Zahawi should resign”.
Whereas 26 percent (2,161 people) said “no” he should not, and a further one percent (75 people) said they did not know either way.
Hundreds of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers discussed Mr Zahawi’s position.
Many readers commented that Ms Zahawi should have handed in his resignation, with username RB1945 writing: “He should definitely resign he has proved he is unreliable.”
Similarly, username Strong like bull said: “His position is untenable.”
Username euripedes said: “We are expected to believe ‘careless and not deliberate’, no one is careless when it comes to that amount of money, now he must do the right thing and resign.”
Another, username borishouseparty wrote: “Should he resign? Probably. In bygone times ministers would fall on their swords for far less.”
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And username tt84 added: “100 percent he should be gone. That’s not someone who can be trusted to run the country for the benefit of the public.”
However, other readers thought that he should have been sacked, agreeing with Mr Sunak’s decision. Username Sid10 wrote: “He shouldn’t be given the option to resign, he should be sacked.”
Username freddyfaroff said: “No he should not resign. He should be sacked.”
While username DuncanWalker1 commented: “He should have been sacked as soon as he was fined.”
Former Tory Cabinet minister Michael Portillo said it was “commendable” that Mr Sunak has wanted to conduct a proper investigation into Mr Zahawi but told GB News: “This thing has been in the headlines now for days and days and days and it’s been doing terrible damage to the government, and to him and to the party.
“I think he did have an opportunity to get rid of him earlier. So I think the Prime Minister will face some criticism for having taken so long … It pains me to say this, but I think on the whole it makes Rishi look weak.”
Similarly, David Cameron’s director of communications at No 10, Sir Craig Oliver, tweeted: “The PM finally reaches the obvious and inevitable conclusion by sacking Nadhim Zahawi. Rishi Sunak knew nothing this morning that he didn’t know a week ago – he will be lamenting feeling unable to stand up to some backbenchers; instead more damage to the Conservatives brand.”
Mr Sunak told NHS staff in County Durham on Monday that he “acted pretty decisively” over Mr Zahawi and took a “very quick decision” about his Party Chairman’s position in Government. He added: “What I have done is follow a process, which is the right process. Integrity is really important to me.”
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove defended Mr Sunak’s inquiry, telling BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme: “As a general rule I think it is important when allegations are raised that they are investigated promptly, but also we shouldn’t rush to judgment before there’s been that investigation.”
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