The UK prime minister who came into office promising “integrity, professionalism and accountability” is embroiled in yet another corruption/conflict-of-interest row involving his wife’s father’s multinational corporation, Infosys.
Rishi Sunak is trying to negotiate a free trade deal with India, where Infosys is based, and the allegation is that this will be hugely profitable for Infosys – and therefore, by proxy, for Sunak himself.
People are asking the obvious question:
Jemma Forte – "This is corruption in plain sight… as Rishi Sunak now faces a new conflict of interest row… so it begs the question, who is Sunak working for… is he working for us or himself?" pic.twitter.com/NBuyZXn5e6
— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) August 27, 2023
Note that it is unlikely that the people of the UK will benefit from this free trade deal, according to Jemma Forte; Sunak is negotiating a deal to benefit his family – again.
Remember: Parliament’s Commissioner for Standards has only just stated that Sunak broke the Ministerial Code – “inadvertently” – by failing to declare that a childcare firm in which his wife has shares will benefit from a change in Tory government policy. In the current instance, there can be no such excuse as we have the evidence in advance of the deal.
Infosys is also a multiple offender in terms of preferential treatment from Sunak’s government. After war broke out between Russia and Ukraine, that firm was told to stop operating in Russia or face sanctions like all the other businesses then doing business with that state, but eight months later it was found still to be doing business there, with impunity against the UK’s sanctions regime.
Sunak is expected to attend a G20 summit in India in two weeks – and to discuss the trade deal at a separate, bilateral, meeting with that nation’s prime minister Narendra Modi.
But Keir Starmer’s opposition party (still currently known as Labour, for reasons unknown) has called for Sunak to make an open declaration about his wife’s financial interests in a company that could profit immensely from his involvement in these negotiations.
One expert – Professor Alan Manning of the London School of Economics, according to The Guardian, wants the prime minister to recuse himself from any negotiations.
In response, it seems the Foreign Office has warned the Labour-chaired business and trade select committee not to visit India to examine the issues around a potential deal. The government department is refusing to help committee members set up meetings with Indian officials and businesspeople.
It seems clear, then, that Sunak has something to hide once again – otherwise, why try to cover up what will happen at the negotiations?
The deal, it seems, will allow Infosys to send teams of its Indian employees to the UK to work on outsourced IT contracts for firms in this country.
Why not employ home-grown expertise and keep the contracts – and all the profits arising from them – in the UK? Or has previous Tory government policy ensured that nobody here has the required expertise any more?
Of course, the controversy will only intensify the debate over MPs having business interests outside the House of Commons, or receiving donations and/or gifts-in-kind from businesses or corporate bosses.
The question here is: who does Rishi Sunak work for – the people of the UK or his wife’s family firm?
The answer seems obvious – with the best interests of the nation he is supposed to lead coming a distant second.
Reform is urgently required – but with so many Parliamentarian snouts firmly in the trough, there seems to be no will to put a stop to the corporate influence that is staining all of us with the filth of corruption. How do we force an end to it?
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