Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Monday, May 20, 2024

Rishi Sunak’s hopes of becoming prime minister are over, say top Tories

Rishi Sunak’s hopes of becoming prime minister are over, say top Tories

Senior party figures think the furore over the chancellor’s US green card and his wife’s tax affairs have put an end to his chances

Senior Conservatives have written off Rishi Sunak as a potential prime minister – and now believe Boris Johnson will have to remove him as chancellor in his next reshuffle – following the furore over his US green card and his wife’s tax affairs.

One former Tory minister told the Observer that the fear among Conservative MPs with small majorities was that the party was now in a “death spiral” with its two leading figures – the PM and chancellor – both having lost respect among voters.

“The worry is that this is symptomatic of a party in terminal decline and that we are in a death spiral,” said the ex-minister, after Sunak’s multimillionaire wife, Akshata Murty, agreed to pay UK tax on her global fortune, having avoided doing so under rules that apply to people who opt for non-domiciled status.

Referring to the entire controversy and revelations about the couple having had US green cards, the ex-minister added: “That is the concern of colleagues with small majorities.

“He has shown colossal naivety and the way he has arranged his affairs does not suggest he is even committed to the UK, but that he is keeping open the option of a career in finance in the United States.”

Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murthy. She has acknowledged that some people did not see her tax status as compatible with her husband’s position.

On Friday it also emerged that the chancellor and Murty had both held US green cards, meaning they had registered themselves as permanent residents in the US. In a development that shocked many Tories, it was confirmed that Sunak held the green card for a period of 19 months when he was chancellor and in charge of UK finances. The issue was even raised at a White House briefing on Friday evening.

A former Tory cabinet minister said Sunak was clearly damaged and would not stand any chance in a leadership contest if one was held in the coming months. The way he had arranged his family’s affairs had shown his political judgment to be badly flawed and raised questions about whether his leadership chances could ever be revived, he said.

A third senior figure in the party said the controversy of recent days had demonstrated how quickly a once-stellar career could go into reverse, to a point from which it would be difficult to recover. “The timing is terrible. I think his problem is that taxes have gone up a lot in his period as chancellor, which is not popular in the party or country. And we have a cost-of-living crisis. None of this looks good.”

It was reported that removal vans had been seen in Downing Street yesterday and that Murty and the two children would live at their west London home with Sunak remaining at No 11 during the working week.

Johnson is believed to be considering a ministerial reshuffle in the summer or autumn. There are known to have been tensions between No 10 and No 11 after the chancellor offered only lukewarm support to Johnson at the height of the scandal over lockdown-busting parties, before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A government source said: “I don’t see the PM resisting this opportunity to move Rishi now.”

The latest Opinium poll for the Observer finds that Sunak’s approval rating has dropped to a new low of -15, making him only slightly less unpopular than Johnson himself.

Only four months ago, when he was firm favourite to succeed Johnson if the PM was toppled over parties at No 10, the chancellor’s approval rating stood at a very healthy plus 11.

All opposition parties are now determined to keep up pressure on Sunak over in the coming weeks. Labour and the Liberal Democrats called on Murty, who remains an Indian citizen, not just to begin paying tax on her overseas earnings but also to pay back what she had saved over recent years.

Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said that while her “non-dom” status had been legal, Sunak, who claimed last week that she was victim of a smear campaign, had failed to be transparent about his family’s tax status at a time when he was raising taxes for millions of people. “He has come out on a number of occasions to try and muddy the waters around this and to obfuscate,” she said.

In a statement on Friday, Murty, who is to keep India as her “place of domicile”, said she had done nothing wrong but acknowledged some people did not see her tax status as being compatible with her husband’s position. “I understand and appreciate the British sense of fairness and I do not wish my tax status to be a distraction for my husband or to affect my family,” she said. “I do this because I want to, not because the rules require me to.”

By retaining her non-domicile status she will in future be able to save huge sums in inheritance tax. Murty has assets of at least £690m in her father’s company, Infosys.

The Liberal Democrats have drawn up draft legislation aimed at forcing the chancellor and any other government ministers to reveal whether they or their spouses claim non-domiciled status or have holdings in overseas tax havens.

Daniel Beizsley, a researcher with the charity Spotlight on Corruption, said the fact that Sunak had a blind trust through which his financial interests were handed over to an independent trustee raised issues over potential conflicts of interest. “By having this arrangement in place, Sunak is preventing any proper scrutiny of his financial interests and is the only current member of the cabinet taking this approach. The system of blind trusts needs to be rethought to include at least a summary of their contents if they are relevant to a minister’s brief to give the public a better understanding of any potential conflicts.”


Related Articles

Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner