PM has 'full confidence' in Sunak as Chancellor refers himself to sleaze watchdog

11 April 2022, 12:35 | Updated: 11 April 2022, 13:08

Boris Johnson is said to have 'full confidence' in the Chancellor amid the fallout over his wife's tax status
Boris Johnson is said to have 'full confidence' in the Chancellor amid the fallout over his wife's tax status. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Downing Street has said the Prime Minister retains full confidence in Rishi Sunak amid the fallout over his wife's tax status.

Asked if Boris Johnson continues to have "full confidence in the Chancellor", a No 10 spokeswoman said today: "He does."

The spokeswoman said the PM had accepted Mr Sunak's request for an investigation by Lord Geidt, Mr Johnson's independent adviser on ministerial interests.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Sunak asked for Lord Geidt to review all his declarations of interest since he became a minister in 2018 to ensure they had been properly stated.

Read more: Wes Streeting blasts Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid over tax affairs

Read more: Sunak fights for job after referring himself to sleaze watchdog over wife's tax affairs

Asked if Lord Geidt had begun his investigation into the Chancellor, the spokeswoman said: "I'm not aware of whether Lord Geidt himself has begun his work.

"But I can confirm that the Prime Minister has agreed to the request from the Chancellor for Lord Geidt to undertake this work."

New polling released today shows more Britons now think Mr Sunak is doing a bad job as Chancellor, rather than a good job.

37% now think the Chancellor is doing a bad job and 30% say good job, compared to before the Spring Statement where a similar pol in early March showed 34% saying good job and 25% saying bad job.

More than twice as many Brits think he is doing a bad job (50%) rather than a good job (21%) at tackling the cost of living crisis in Britain, according to polling by Ipsos.

On LBC today, Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said: "So the idea that the Chancellor, who has made families in this country around £2,600 a year worse off, has been managing his tax affairs and managing his family's tax affairs in a way that means he pays less tax in this country, I think will stick in the throats of lots of people."

He added: "I think the question we've got to ask ourselves is, is this fair, is this right and what does he need to do about it?

"Because I don't think it's enough that the Chancellor has just referred himself to the Prime Minister's adviser in the hope that he will tell us what we already know, which he hasn't broken any laws.

"I think what we want to hear from the Chancellor is that he will fix loopholes that give very, very wealthy people like him a get-out-of-jail-free card when it comes to paying their fair share of tax in this country, at the same time that he's clobbering working people with huge tax rises and leaving some of the very poorest in our people much, much worse off.

"What kind of country have we become when there are more foodbanks in our country than there are McDonald's?"

Rishi Sunak visited the Treasury's base in Darlington on Monday in a bid to show he was getting on with the job of being Chancellor despite the storm around his family's financial arrangements.

The Chancellor visited the Darlington Economic Campus after requesting an investigation into his own conduct by Boris Johnson's independent adviser on ministerial interests Lord Geidt.

Yesterday the chancellor asked Boris Johnson to refer him to the Independent Adviser on Ministers' Interests to determine whether all his financial interests were "properly declared".

The Minister said his "overriding concern" was to retain public confidence in his actions and claims he had "always followed the rules" and hoped the review would "provide further clarity".

Mr Sunak also ordered a Whitehall inquiry into who leaked details of his wife Ms Murty's tax status to the media triggering a furious political outcry.

The probe into his financial declarations, will be led by Lord Geidt, who previously cleared Mr Johnson of wrongdoing over the £112,000 refurbishment of the Downing Street flat.

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