Rishi Sunak in possible conflict of interest over childcare policy

Akshata Murty and her husband, UK prime minister Rishi Sunak: they’ve been called into question before, over a firm in which she has shares, that has been operating in Russia.

What’s going on here? Did Rishi Sunak know he had a conflict of interest over childcare policy – and not care – or did he really not realise that the policy related to him?

Here’s The Guardian:

Rishi Sunak is facing questions over a potential conflict of interest after it emerged a childcare firm part owned by his wife is to benefit from major changes in the budget.

The prime minister’s wife, Akshata Murty, is listed as a shareholder in Koru Kids, a childcare agency. Koru Kids is likely to benefit from a pilot scheme offered by Jeremy Hunt to incentivise people to become childminders, with £1,200 offered to those who train to become one through an agency.

Sunak did not mention his wife’s interest when speaking about the childcare changes at his appearance before the liaison committee on Tuesday. He was asked by the Labour MP Catherine McKinnell whether he had anything to declare. “No, all my disclosures are declared in the normal way,” he told McKinnell.

It is understood the Cabinet Office was told about Murty’s interest in Koru Kids previously but it was not deemed necessary to appear on the public register of ministerial interests, which was last updated in June 2022.

The register states that Sunak’s wife owns a venture capital investment company, Catamaran Ventures UK Ltd, without going into detail of any of its shareholdings.

It seems clear that Sunak’s family has a financial interest in Koru Kids, which has benefited from a recent change in government policy.

According to the Ministerial Code, members of the government must ensure that “no conflict arises, or could reasonably be perceived to arise, between their public duties and their private interests, financial or otherwise”.

The Liberal Democrats have written to Sir Laurie Magnus, the independent adviser on ministerial interests, asking him to investigate whether the Code has been broken.

But he cannot open any investigations without the permission of the prime minister – who is Rishi Sunak himself.

You see the problem?

Sunak is saying he hasn’t done anything wrong. But he’s not an impartial judge and this case needs somebody with no interest to judge it.

But Sunak can block that.

So what’s to be done?

Watch this space…

Source: Rishi Sunak’s childcare policy risks conflict of interest with wife’s firm | Rishi Sunak | The Guardian

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One Comment

  1. Tony March 30, 2023 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    Well, conflicts of interest do happen.

    Vice President Johnson was an obvious suspect in the JFK assassination.

    Not only was he not investigated but he was even allowed to appoint his own inquiry, The Warren Commission, to determine what happened.

    He was not even required to testify.

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