Keir Starmer Says Rishi Sunak Must 'Come Clean' About His Wife's Russian Links

The chancellor has accused critics of trying to "smear" Akshata Murthy over her father's business interests.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murthy
Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murthy
Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty Images

Keir Starmer has called on Rishi Sunak to “come clean” about any links his wife’s family business has with Vladimir Putin.

The Labour leader said it would be wrong for the chancellor’s household to be “benefiting” from any money coming from Russia while the government is imposing sanctions on its regime.

Questions have been asked about Aksatha Murthy’s 0.91 per cent stake in Infosys, the technology consulting firm founded by her billionaire father.

It continues to operate in Russia despite Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sunak, who has urged companies to pull out of the country in order to squeeze the Russian economy, has said his wife should not be subjected to political attacks.

But speaking to Sky News this morning, Starmer said: “Is their household benefiting from money made in Russia when the government’s put in place sanctions? That is in the public interest for us to have an answer to.

“I’m not attacking their family, but I do want to know is the chancellor’s household benefiting from a company that’s investing in Russia when the government is saying, quite rightly, that nobody should be doing that.

“With the dreadful situation in Ukraine, we should frankly be doing everything we can, not just to make life more difficult in Russia but to cripple their ability to function.

“It’s not a personal attack, I don’t agree with that. I would have thought the chancellor would want to come clean on this and say ’actually, I can be very very clear that my household doesn’t benefit from any money that’s come in any way from Russia during this invasion of Ukraine.

“It’s a simple question, I think he should just answer it.”

In an interview with a BBC podcast on Thursday, Sunak likened his situation to that of Will Smith, the Hollywood actor who slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars for making a joke about his wife.

He said: “I feel, on reflection, both Will Smith and me having our wives attacked – at least I didn’t get up and slap anybody, which is good.”

The chancellor said it was “totally fine” for people to “take shots” at him for how he handled the economy, but said it was “wrong” for his wife to be targeted.

“And you know, beyond that actually, with regard to my father in law, for whom I have nothing but enormous pride and admiration for everything that he’s achieved,” Sunak said.

“No amount of attempted smearing is going to make me change that because he’s wonderful and has achieved a huge amount.”


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