Sunak suggests «expedient» would be to fire Zahawi, but appeals to «due process» of investigation

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. – Victoria Jones/PA Wire/dpa

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has backed Conservative Party chairman Nadhim Zahawi to remain in office for the time being despite his fiscal «oversights» by stating that while the «politically expedient» would have been to fire him, «due process» must now be followed.

«The politically expedient thing would have been for me to have said that this matter must be resolved by Wednesday noon,» Sunak has said in reference to his question and answer session in the House of Commons. However, he has pointed out that «due process» must be followed and wait for the outcome of the investigation.

«The right thing to do is for us to thoroughly investigate this matter and establish all the facts,» Sunak responded to questions from Labor leader Keir Starmer about Zahawi’s situation.

Starmer has assessed that he believes «anyone watching would think it’s pretty obvious that someone seeking to evade tax cannot also be in charge of tax.» «However, for some reason, the prime minister can’t bring himself to say that,» he added, according to British media reports.

After Zahawi made public his tax returns, in which he acknowledged paying a fine of some 4.8 million euros to solve a problem with the tax authorities, Sunak ordered an investigation in case he had violated ministerial rules, since at the time of the agreement he was the head of the Treasury.

In addition to Zahawi, the controversy has also affected the Cabinet Secretary, Simon Case, whose responsibilities include advising the Prime Minister on the suitability of ministerial appointments.

«No problem was raised with me,» Sunak has apologized when he proposed Zahawi’s name to be what is known as a minister without portfolio, a member of the cabinet, who, without specific functions, can perform those for which he is appointed at a specific time by the head of government.