UK PM sacks Conservative leader over lack of fiscal transparency


In a new political crisis in the United Kingdom, the British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, announced the resignation this Sunday (29) of his conservative party leader and chairman, Nadhim Zahawi, after an investigation found violations of the ministerial code for lack of fiscal transparency.

Zahawi, who also served as minister without portfolio in Sunak’s cabinet, came under fire after the revelation that the HMRC, the UK department responsible for collecting taxes, had launched an investigation into financial irregularities.

Zahari admitted that he was “careless” with his taxes, but said that he did not deliberately make any mistakes and that he made retroactive bill payments and fines to HMRC to regulate the situation – the amount paid, according to the British The Guadian, would have reached to 4.8 million pounds (R$ 30.1 million). The case happened when the conservative politician was finance minister in Boris Johnson’s government, from July to September last year.

At first, Sunak expressed support for Zahawi. Faced with the repercussions of the case, however, the prime minister determined last Monday (23) the opening of an independent investigation.

In a letter, Sunak said the review “made it clear that there was a serious breach of the Ministerial Code”. “When I became prime minister last year, I promised that the government would have integrity, professionalism and accountability at all levels,” wrote the prime minister in announcing his resignation.

In addition to tax irregularities, Zahawi was accused of breaking the ministerial code of ethics by failing to include debt payments on his tax return. He also did not inform Sunak or her predecessor, Liz Truss, about the case.

The case amplifies instability in the Conservative Party. After 13 years in power, the Conservatives’ reputations have been damaged by conflict-of-interest scandals. This has led to increased accusations of corruption by the Labor opposition, which is currently leading in opinion polls.

Keir Starmer, leader of the Labor Party, even accused Sunak of being “hopelessly weak” for being reluctant to sack Zahawi. He took advantage of the situation to remember that the prime minister’s wife, Akshata Murty, was accused of evading taxes by declaring herself “non-resident” to the British tax authorities – this status exempts some foreigners from paying taxes on income, if they intend to return to their countries of origin.

Zahawi is the second casualty on Sunak’s team. In November, a few days after the prime minister took office, Gavin Williamson, also a minister without portfolio, left the government due to accusations of moral harassment.

In October, Sunak replaced Liz Truss, who left the post after 44 days after failing a bold economic program of tax cuts and new aid to combat the high cost of living and the energy crisis triggered by the War in Ukraine.

Truss, in turn, was the successor to Boris Johnson, who resigned after a series of crises, including “partygate”, an episode in which serial leaks revealed parties at the seat of government at a time of Covid in which the British were prohibited from gather indoors.

On the last day 11, UK Conservative Party announced the removal of MP Andrew Bridgen after he shared on Twitter a series of false claims about vaccines against Covid.

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