A Whitehall inquiry has been launched into the leak of Rishi Sunak’s wife’s tax status after a week in which the chancellor’s approval ratings have taken a significant hit.
Akshata Murty dramatically announced on Friday that she would pay UK taxes on her global incomeadding in a statement that she didn’t want the issue “to be a distraction for my husband”.
The revelation that she had until then been “non-domiciled” in the UK for tax purposes saw the chancellor face allegations of hypocrisy given recent tax rises imposed by the Treasury.
Labor said his family had potentially saved tens of millions of pounds as a result of Ms Murty’s arrangement.
Experts have estimated that Ms Murty, who remains an Indian citizen, has saved £ 20m as a result of not having to pay taxes on her shares in Infosys, an Indian IT company founded by her father.
Mr Sunak has seen his approval ratings fall in light of the reports, which came hot on the heels of a Spring Statement which saw critics accuse him of not doing enough to help families with the cost of living.
This morning, a new poll by Opinium shows a drop by three points to 28%. His disapproval rating has risen by eight points to 43% for a net approval rating of -15.
What do we know about the investigation?
The Whitehall investigation is already under way, PA news agency understands.
It will look into how the information about Ms Murty’s taxes was first passed on to The Independent newspaper.
According to The Sunday Times, the chancellor’s team believe a Labor supporting official dubbed “red throat” is responsible for the leak.
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 offense.”
Read more: Who is Rishi Sunak’s wife and why is she so wealthy?
Tough set of front pages for chancellor
Mr Sunak’s political future is the focus of a number of the Sunday newspaper front pages.
The storm surrounding his wife’s tax status has led to Tory MPs questioning whether the chancellor – long seen as a potential successor to Boris Johnson – has the political judgment needed for the top job, says The Observer.
It comes with Mr Sunak having also faced questions about him having a US green card – permitting him residence in the country – until more than a year into his time at 11 Downing Street.
But sources close to Mr Sunak have played down reports that he has moved his wife and two daughters out of the chancellor’s residence in 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.
However, a source told PA news agency 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.
Mr Sunak is expected to stay in Downing Street during the week, while joining them at weekends.