A furious Rishi Sunak believes he has become the victim of a “political hit job” after details of his wife’s tax status leaked to the media.
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Allies of the chancellor, whose rising star has dubbed him a future party leader, told The times he believes the disclosure of his multimillionaire wife’s non-domicile status was a “coordinated attack” timed to coincide with a Increase in social security contributions.
“He thinks it’s total slander,” an ally told the newspaper. “It feels like there’s a full-time committal operation against him. This is a hit job, a political hit job. Someone is trying to undermine their credibility.”
The leak that so angered Sunak revealed his wife Akshata Murty saved “millions” in tax payments Claim for non-domiciled status while I live in the UK.
Murty, a fashion designer and shareholder of her father’s billionaire IT services company, used her “non-resident status to save on her tax bills while her husband was chancellor.” The Independent uncovered.
Although the exact amounts are not known, sources told the newspaper that “it could have saved her millions of pounds in taxes on foreign income over a number of years”.
Claiming non-domiciled status is perfectly legal and has existed under Conservative and Labor governments. A spokesman for Murty said that BBC She paid all her UK taxes legally. But the leak has “increased the pressure” on the couple, The Times said.
Sunak “was hit with a political backlash over the news.” Daily Mail said, with critics pointing out that Murty is saving her tax bill while she “lives in a taxpayer-funded flat on Downing Street”. She was then “forced into an embarrassing relegation” over claims that “her Non-Dom status is an automatic product of her Indian citizenship”.
The chancellor came out fighting yesterday and talked The sun: “I am an elected politician. So I know what I signed up for. It’s different when people try to attack you by attacking your family and especially your wife.
“It’s awkward, especially when she hasn’t done anything wrong. Of course she pays British taxes for every penny she earns in the UK. And every cent that she earns internationally, for example in India, she would pay full tax on.”
He added that “it would not be reasonable or fair to ask her to sever ties with her country because she happens to be married to me,” arguing, “She loves her country. As I love mine, I would never dream of giving up my British citizenship.”
But despite his optimistic response, a minister suggested the issue could trigger his resignation if a full statement isn’t forthcoming.
“I don’t think it’s sustainable. More and more will come out about the family’s finances,” the minister told The Times. “I don’t think he has the ability of Boris or Blair to weather the worst of circumstances. His wife is a non-dom billionaire and the questions only get harder.”
According to The Times, “Sunak has told few government officials about his wife’s tax status.” His “closest advisers are said not to have known,” while Boris Johnson and his No 10 team were also caught off guard by the news.
A supporter of the chancellor told the newspaper that they felt increasingly “isolated” among their peers and that few Tory MPs had spoken out in Sunak’s defence. Others suggested the leak was a Labor tip.
Political news site Guido Fawke reported that Private Eye “tagged his [Murty’s] Status in March last year,” suggesting the story had hit Sunak hard due to the “timing and media context” of the cost-of-living crisis and tax increases.
The site also explained that Labor had “left the non-domiciled wife story to a sympathetic hack for a scoop for a scoop,” adding: “It’s a sign of a revived work by the Labor media, which is testing media strategies with the ruthlessness required uses win.”
Maggie Pagano, Editor-in-Chief of reactionsaid the story meant Sunaks “already declining returns on the prime ministerial office are now forgotten.” The guard adding that a non-resident spouse who is “richer than the Queen” will certainly pose a political problem for the Chancellor.
Johnson dodged questions about Sunak’s financial affairs yesterday, saying that “in politics, it’s important to try to keep people’s families out if possible.”
But if the attack was a “hit job,” all indications are that it may have knocked out its target.
“The Chancellor is entitled to his money,” said Fraser Nelson, editor of The Spectator The Telegraph“but that won’t stop his political enemies from exploiting it.”
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/politics/956376/is-rishi-sunak-victim-of-political-hit-job Is Rishi Sunak the victim of a ‘political hit job’?