“From the party chair sacked over his tax affairs to the party treasurer who took part in a tax avoidance scheme, Sunak is drowning in a swamp of sleaze."
Two more senior Tories have been caught up in a tax dodging row. This time the party’s Treasurer as well as the chief executive are the latest headache for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
It comes after Former Tory chair Nadhim Zahawi was sacked after an inquiry by the prime minister’s ethics adviser found he had failed to disclose that HMRC was investigating his tax affairs.
Zahawi has had to pay a penalty to resolve a dispute with HMRC over unpaid taxes. He had not disclosed the size of the settlement – reported to be an estimated £4.8m including a 30% penalty – or whether he paid a fine.
Zahawi settled his tax dispute while he was chancellor, which Labour’s Anneliese Dodds described as ‘shocking’.
Now the Mirror reports that Graham Edwards, who was brought in by the PM to run the party’s finances, ‘was found to have used a tax avoidance scheme’. In a further blow to Sunak, Tory chief executive Stephen Massey has also been revealed to be working for a firm that encouraged the rich to slash their tax bills by ploughing cash into a controversial movie investment project.
Labour’s Anneliese Dodds told the Mirror: “From the party chair sacked over his tax affairs to the party treasurer who took part in a tax avoidance scheme, Rishi Sunak is drowning in a swamp of sleaze.
“Rishi Sunak promised professionalism, integrity and accountability at every level, but instead we’ve got a torrent of questions over those he put at the top of the Conservative Party.”
Edwards, who is also a director of the Centre for Policy Studies, was announced as the party’s treasurer last month. He was found to have wrongly tried to reduce the tax due on £5million he received in bonuses. The scheme he used, which involved setting up a trust, was ruled by a tax tribunal in 2007 to be a tax avoidance scheme.
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward
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