13 Key Questions Rishi Sunak Still Needs To Answer Over The Nadhim Zahawi Scandal

What discussions did you have with Zahawi before you appointed him to cabinet?
Former chancellor and ex-party chairman Nadhim Zahawi.
Former chancellor and ex-party chairman Nadhim Zahawi.
Victoria Jones - PA Images via Getty Images

Nadhim Zahawi was sacked yesterday morning over a seven-figure tax payment he made to HMRC while he was chancellor.

The prime minister dismissed him for a “serious breach of the ministerial code” two hours after receiving a report by ethics adviser Sir Laurie Magnus.

Rishi Sunak will desperately hope this draws a line under the issue, however a number of crucial questions still need to be answered.

Labour is calling on the Sunak to “come clean” about what he knew about the affair and the Lib Dems have suggested Zahawi should resign as an MP.

Here, HuffPost UK talks you through the major questions dogging the prime minister who promised his government will have “integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level”.

  1. When were you first told about the HMRC investigation into Zahawi’s tax affairs?
  2. When did you find out he had agreed a multi-million pound settlement with the taxman?
  3. What penalty did Zahawi agree to pay HMRC and in relation to what underpayment or non-payment of taxes? To your knowledge, was he at any stage the beneficiary of an off-shore trust?
  4. What discussions did you have with Zahawi before you appointed him to cabinet?
  5. What due diligence was carried out on Zahawi before his appointment as party chairman?
  6. When did you first find out that Zahawi had issued legal threats to those trying to expose him?
  7. Is it acceptable for ministers to use SLAPPs [strategic lawsuits against public participation] to suppress media reporting on their interests?
  8. Did Zahawi ever tell you or No.10 officials that he had paid his taxes in full and was not aware of an HMRC investigation?
  9. Were you ever warned formally or informally against appointing Zahawi to cabinet? If so, why were those warnings ignored?
  10. Has the government contributed to Zahawi’s legal costs over this issue?
  11. Was Zahawi afforded any special treatment by HMRC to settle the dispute quickly? What contact was there between members of the government and HMRC on this specific case?
  12. Can you confirm that a “red flag” was raised by the cabinet office over Zahawi’s appointment as chancellor? Was a “red flag” raised when he was appointed as party chairman?
  13. Will Zahawi retain the Tory whip?

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said Sunak must now “come clean” on the advice he was given about that appointment in the first place and why he “apparently ignored the warnings”.


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