Rishi Sunak Says 'Integrity' Is 'Really Important' As He Defends Handling Of Nadhim Zahawi Scandal

But the prime minister has been accused of lacking "backbone" as questions remain.
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Rishi Sunak has said “integrity is really important to me” as he defended his handling of the Nadhim Zahawi scandal.

The prime minister sacked Zahawi as Tory party chairman on Sunday morning after an ethics investigation concluded he had committed a “serious breach” of the rules over his tax affairs.

Speaking to reporters in County Durham on Monday morning, Sunak insisted he has made a “very quick decision” and wanted to “move on” from the row.

But Labour has accused Sunak of lacking a “backbone” by failing to fire Zahawi as soon as the revelations came to light a week ago.

And the Lib Dems have said Sunak should now strip Zahawi of the Tory whip if he refuses to quit as an MP, something the PM looks set to resist.

Sunak said he would “take whatever steps are necessary to restore the integrity back into politics”.

“I can’t change what happened in the past. What you can hold me accountable for is: what did you do about it?” he said. “Integrity is really important to me.”

But the PM is facing questions about decisions he made since taking office, not just choices made by his predecessors.

Sunak reappointed Suella Braverman as home secretary, despite her being forced to resign by Liz Truss afters he was found to have broken the ministerial code.

Braverman, who backed Sunak in the last leadership contest, was found to have sent an official document from a personal email account.

The PM has also stood by Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister and justice secretary, despite him being accused of multiple counts of bullying.

Raab remains under investigation by senior lawyer Adam Tolley KC over the complaints. He has denied all allegations.


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