An investigation into the Whitehall leaks has been launched to try to find out who leaked details of the tax status of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s wife to the media.
Akshata Murty dramatically announced on Friday that she would pay UK tax on her worldwide earnings after the revelation that she was ‘not domiciled’ in the UK for tax purposes sparked a political storm.
Labor accused Mr Sunak of hypocrisy, saying his family had potentially saved tens of millions of pounds from the arrangement as he raised taxes for millions of others.
The PA news agency understands that an investigation is currently underway to establish how the information was passed to the online newspaper The Independent.
Mr Sunak’s team believe he is a Labor Party official nicknamed ‘red throat’, according to the Sunday Times.
The newspaper quotes a senior government official as saying: ‘There is going to be a full investigation by Her Majesty’s Cabinet Office and Treasury to find out who had this information and whether anyone asked for this information.
“Disclosure of an individual’s tax status is a criminal offence.”
Some experts have estimated Ms Murty, who remains an Indian citizen, saved £20million by not having to pay tax on her shares in Infosys, an Indian IT company founded by her father.
The disclosure saw Mr Sunak’s approval ratings take another hit after he was criticized for not doing enough to support families struggling with the cost of living crisis in the spring statement of the last month.
An Opinium Research poll found his approval rating had dropped three points since the end of March to 28%, while his disapproval rating had risen eight points to 43%, giving him a net rating of -15 (minus 15).
It has led to question among Tory MPs whether the Chancellor – long seen as a potential successor to Boris Johnson – has the political judgment needed to hold the top job.
Meanwhile, sources close to Mr Sunak played down reports he was taking his wife and two daughters out of Downing Street to escape media scrutiny.
The Sunday Times reported that removal vans arrived on the street on Saturday to take away their belongings.
A source said however they had always intended to spend more time at their west London home as their eldest daughter Krishna enters her final term of primary school before moving on to l ‘secondary school.
Mr Sunak is expected to stay in Downing Street during the week while joining them at the weekend.
– Opinium Research conducted an online survey of 2004 UK adults aged 18 and over between April 6 and April 8.