Rishi Sunak: Whitehall inquiry ordered into leak of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty’s tax status

A Whitehall leak inquiry has been launched in an attempt to find out who passed details of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s wife’s tax status to the media.

Akshata Murty dramatically announced on Friday that she would pay UK taxes on her worldwide income after the disclosure she was “non-domiciled” in the UK for tax purpose sparked a political storm.

Labour accused Mr Sunak of hypocrisy, saying his family had potentially saved tens of millions of pounds as a result of the arrangement while he was putting up taxes for millions of others.

Read More
Akshata Murty: What is Akshata Murty's age, net worth, and career?
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The PA news agency understands that an investigation is now under way to establish how the information was passed to The Independent online newspaper.

Mr Sunak’s team is said to believe that it is a Labour supporting official dubbed “red throat”, according to The Sunday Times.

The paper quoted a senior Government official as saying: “There’s going to be a full Cabinet Office and HM Treasury investigation into who had that information and if anyone has requested that information.

“Divulging the tax status of a private individual is a criminal offence.”

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak's wife Akshata Murthy. Photo by VICKIE FLORES/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Some experts have estimated that Ms Murty, who remains an Indian citizen, has saved £20 million as a result of not having to pay taxes on her shares in Infosys, an Indian IT company founded by her father.

Rishi Sunak opinion polls

The disclosure saw Mr Sunak’s approval ratings take another hit after he was criticised for not doing enough to support families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis in last month’s Spring Statement.

A poll by Opinium Research found his approval rating dropped by three points since late March to 28%, while his disapproval rating rose by eight points to 43% giving him a net rating of -15 (minus 15).

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It has led to questioning among Tory MPs as to whether the Chancellor – long seen as a potential successor to Boris Johnson – has the political judgement needed for the top job.

However policing minister Kit Malthouse denied Mr Sunak’s political career was ‘toast’ and said the Chancellor has been a ‘remarkable force for good’ in British politics.

“Rishi Sunak has been a remarkable force for good in this country over the last two years. He put in place some incredible support schemes during the pandemic at enormous speed,” Mr Malthouse told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme.

Mr Malthouse said that it was “unfortunate” that Mr Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, had been drawn into the political fray but she had now “corrected” her tax status.

Meanwhile sources close to Mr Sunak played down reports that he was moving his wife and two daughters out of Downing Street to escape the glare of the media.

The Sunday Times reported that removal vans arrived in the street on Saturday to take their belongings away.

One source said however they had always intended to spend more time in their west London home as their elder daughter, Krishna, entered her final term of primary school before moving on to secondary school.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Sunak is expected to stay in Downing Street during the week while joining them at weekends.

– Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2004 UK adults aged 18 and over between April 6 to 8.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.