There’s a lot of “nothing to see here, guv” about the way the government – and Rishi Sunak in particular – has handled the controversy over it handing public money to firms in which his wife holds shares.
After it was found that Akshata Murty had shares in Koru Kids, a childcare agency set to benefit from a policy in last month’s budget, Sunak has published a new list of his own financial interests including it. It seems to have been omitted previously.
We have also heard that the government has awarded a contract to her father’s firm Infosys, in which she also has shares. This business was found to be operating in Russia after the government imposed sanctions on any commercial operation doing so, and its bosses promised to withdraw from that country after the transgression was discovered.
It was subsequently revealed that Infosys had not withdrawn from Russia immediately – but Sunak’s government gave it a contract worth a small fortune anyway.
So that’s two infringements – of government policy and Parliamentary rules – in favour of Rishi Sunak’s wife.
Before either of them, we learned that Ms Murty had avoided paying £20 million in taxes by holding non-domiciled tax status. This created a huge stink as she was understood to be living in the prime minister’s Downing Street flat with him – a tax avoider living in the heart of government.
There were calls for Sunak to be removed as prime minister over it.
But then Ms Murty agreed to give up her non-dom status and start paying the full amount of UK taxes.
That leads to the very obvious question posed in the second of the two tweets below:
I’ll leave this here… pic.twitter.com/l1fKZutWyc
— Marina Purkiss (@MarinaPurkiss) April 18, 2023
“If Rishi Sunak’s wife is suddenly prepared to hand over several million to keep her husband in a £150k job… you really need to think about why this might be.”
The logical inference from it all is that he has been using his position in that job to funnel huge amounts of cash into private firms in which his wife has an interest. Do we even know if he has declared all her shareholdings now?
Public opinion seems clear:
Sunak has been quietly funnelling money to private equity ever since he got into Number 11.
He did it all through the Covid lockdowns (see my pinned Tweet).
He's doing it from Number Ten.
He'll carry on doing it until we stop him. https://t.co/tgXP8j4nHi
— Gyll King (@GyllKing) April 19, 2023
Rishi Sunak’s childcare shares row exposes the Tories’ obsession with bypassing the state.
Tory social engineering to create markets, enrich a few. Sunak's wife benefited from tax handouts to agencies.
Tory MPs told not to raise the issue in the Commons.https://t.co/mKSaspzR5s
— Prem Sikka (@premnsikka) April 19, 2023
It is all speculation. But the facts on which it is based are irrefutable.
Akshata Murty did give up her non-dom status and agree to pay millions of pounds in tax, in order to ensure her husband stayed in his £150k-per-year job.
And Rishi Sunak’s government did hand large amounts of money to private businesses in which his wife had shares.
It’s extremely hard to see any of it as innocent.
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