Doubts arose about a settlement with the British Inland Revenue Company when Zahawi was Minister of Finance. According to the media, the number was seven-digit and the politician also paid a fine. Al-Zahawi alleges that he inadvertently submitted the wrong tax return.
In the letter to Zahawi, the prime minister said it was clear that the Conservative Party leader’s behavior constituted a “serious breach of ministry law”.
According to Laurie Magnus, the ethics advisor at SONAC, who led the investigation, Zahawi’s behavior “did not live up to the high standard of conduct” that the prime minister would expect from members of his cabinet. According to Magnus, Zahawi did not behave “as an honest, open and exemplary leader”. Among other things, Magnus accused the politician of long publicly denying that he had negotiated a tax settlement with the authorities.
Sunak is more popular with the British than its predecessors
But according to Sunak, Zahawi should have been proud of his results in previous Conservative governments, where he held, among other things, the post of Finance Minister from July to September 2022. He was a minister without portfolio in the current government.
The 55-year-old Zahawi became chief governor — meaning not the party’s top representative, but a politician responsible for the party’s internal functioning or the activities of election staff appointed by the party leader — in October last year.
He previously served as Minister for Education and then Minister for Finance in Boris Johnson’s government from September 2021 to July 2022. He remained in the Cabinet after Johnson’s downfall, when he unsuccessfully applied for the post of party leader (he was eliminated in the first round), but has held lower government positions under Liz Truss.
He has been a Member of Parliament since 2010, the same year he became a Member of the Conservative Party. He was among the first Conservative politicians to call for Johnson to step down as prime minister last summer, and called for his resignation just 36 hours after he replaced Rishi Sunak as chancellor on July 5, 2022.
Al-Zahawi was born on June 2, 1967, into a Kurdish family in Baghdad, Iraq, and has lived in Britain since the 1970s. He studied chemical engineering at University College London (UCL). He co-founded the YouGov polling agency in 2000 and was its CEO from 2005 to 2010. He then served as a director at Gulf Keystone Petroleum, which is engaged in oil production in Iraqi Kurdistan. He is married and has three children.
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