Minister Says There Are "Significant Questions" Over Zahawi Tax Affairs, "Partygate" Hearings Set To Begin
Policing minister Chris Philp, pictured in October 2022 (Alamy)
A Tory minister has said there are still “significant questions” to answer around Nadhim Zahawi’s tax affairs after a backbench MP publicly called on the Party Chairman to “stand aside”.
Policing minister Chris Philp told the BBC’s Today Programme this morning that the investigation into Zahawi’s arrangements ordered by the Prime Minister yesterday is “obviously the right thing to do” as it will “get to the bottom” of the matter.
On Saturday Zahawi, the Conservative Party chair, admitted he had reached a settlement with HMRC after making an error related to his previous directorship of polling firm, YouGov.
It was announced yesterday that the probe will be led by Sir Laurie Magnus, who was appointed as the Prime Minister's Independent Adviser on Ministers' Interests in December.
"There are some significant questions to answer around this based on the information that came out over the weekend,” Philp told the BBC Radio 4's Today Programme on Tuesday.
Referring to the investigation, he added: “That is obviously the right thing to do because tax affairs of course are private between the individual and HMRC as they should be, so the only way of fully understanding what's been going on is to have an investigation.”
Last night, Conservative MP Caroline Nokes told TalkTV she thinks the tax row is “too much of a problem” for Zahawi and called for the Tory party chair to “stand aside” and let the investigation run.
"I think the challenge for Nadhim is: Look at the front pages," she continued.
"He is leading too many of them and when you become the story it is a distraction from anything else that the Government is trying to do.
"There are countless examples of good, competent Cabinet colleagues who have got themselves in a mess who have resigned quickly and come back, really in some instances, just a few months later and I think in order to get this cleared up Nadhim should stand aside and let the investigation run its course."
Boris Johnson says Ukraine should be getting tanks from Western allies
Former prime minister Boris Johnson has called on Western allies to support Ukraine and give them the weapons they need to defeat Vladimir Putin,
Writing for the Daily Mail today, Johnson asked “what the hell are we waiting for” as countries are deciding whether or not to supply Kyiv with tanks.
He wrote: 'What conceivable grounds can there be for delay? Why are we not giving the Ukrainians all the help they need, now, when they need it?
'The sooner we can help the Ukrainians to their inevitable victory, the sooner the whole world can begin to recover from Putin's catastrophe. That requires the West to double and treble our support.
He added: “The Ukrainians need hundreds of tanks and they should be getting them from the Americans, the Germans, the Poles and many others.”
The intervention comes after Johnson made a surprise trip to Ukraine over the weekend
Johnson is currently facing more questions over his financial arrangements, as the Sunday Times reported that Richard Sharp was appointed BBC chairman after early involvement with conversations that helped Johnson to secure a loan while prime minister.
Partygate hearings to begin with in weeks, report suggests
The Privileges Committee investigation into whether Boris Johnson misled MPs over partygate is set to begin its hearings in March, the Mirror has reported today.
The paper has suggested that witnesses will face questions on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the Spring, and a timetable will be finalised within the coming weeks.
The former prime minister and his wife Carrie Johnson both received fines for attending a gathering in No 10 in 2020, as did the current Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak.
The committee responsible for the inquiry will be led by senior Labour MP Harriet Harman.
As well as one other Labour MP, there are four Conservatives and one SNP member on the committee.
According to details on the Parliament website, the committee received material from the government relating to the inquiry on 18 November, having asked for it in July, which they are now working their way through.
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe