UK Prime Minister dismisses conservative party chairman over tax controversy

Nadhim Zahawi found in violation of government rules

Photo: Simon Dawson/No 10 Downing Street
Photo: Simon Dawson/No 10 Downing Street

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has taken action against Conservative Party Chairman Nadhim Zahawi after a probe into his tax affairs found a serious breach of ministerial rules.

"I regret to inform you of my decision to relieve you of your duties in His Majesty’s Government," Sunak stated in a public letter.

The move follows a series of events that have called into question the Prime Minister's judgement and integrity.

Reports indicate that Zahawi, who previously served as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Prime Minister Boris Johnson, had to pay a seven-figure fine for late payment of taxes.

Sunak, who assumed office in October, appointed Zahawi as party chairman and cabinet minister without portfolio.

However, questions arose regarding Zahawi's prior actions and whether Johnson was aware of the tax investigation when he appointed him as chancellor and head of the UK’s tax authority.

The inquiry into the matter began earlier in the week, and Zahawi maintained his innocence, citing his involvement in the successful polling company, YouGov, as the source of the controversy.

Despite his claims, opposition parties have criticized Zahawi for changing his explanations and for threatening libel lawsuits against journalists and a tax consultant investigating the case.