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UK politics live: Sunak’s call for inquiry into his own conduct fails to quell claims he may have broken ministerial code UK politics live: Sunak’s call for inquiry into his own conduct fails to quell claims he may have broken ministerial code
(about 1 hour later)
Labour dismisses chancellor’s attempt to regain control of the narrative amid scrutiny over his personal financial interestsLabour dismisses chancellor’s attempt to regain control of the narrative amid scrutiny over his personal financial interests
Last week, after Koci Selamaj was sentenced to life in jail for the murder of the primary school teacher Sabina Nessa, Priti Patel, the home secretary, posted a message on Twitter saying she hoped this would bring some small comfort to Nessa’s family.
In an interview with the Today programme this morning Jebina Yasmin Islam, Nessa’s sister, criticised Patel for her tweets. Claiming that there had been a “lack of support” for the family from government, she said:
Islam claimed that the family she had not received any correspondence from Patel about Nessa’s murder. But Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, had sent a letter, she said.
As Sami Quadri reports for the Evening Standard, Islam also claimed that if the family had been white, they would have been treated more favourably, and Nessa’s murder would have been received more publicity.
On his LBC show Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, has said it was right for Boris Johnson to visit Kyiv on Saturday to show support for Ukraine. It was an important visit, he said. And he said that some of the people criticising Johnson for the trip on social media (on the grounds that it was a stunt, and that Johnson was grandstanding) were the same people who were praising Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, when she visited the city the day before.
Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, is hosting the morning programme on LBC today, standing in for James O’Brien, who is on holiday. Even though his shadow cabinet colleague Steve Reed used his morning interviews this morning to highlight Labour claims that Rishi Sunak may have broken the ministerial code (see 9.34am), Streeting used his opening spiel to argue that this aspect of Sunak’s conduct wasn’t the real problem. He said:Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, is hosting the morning programme on LBC today, standing in for James O’Brien, who is on holiday. Even though his shadow cabinet colleague Steve Reed used his morning interviews this morning to highlight Labour claims that Rishi Sunak may have broken the ministerial code (see 9.34am), Streeting used his opening spiel to argue that this aspect of Sunak’s conduct wasn’t the real problem. He said:
Streeting said what was objectionable was that Sunak and his family were able to organise their tax affairs so as to minimise their liabilities in a way other people cannot. He explained:Streeting said what was objectionable was that Sunak and his family were able to organise their tax affairs so as to minimise their liabilities in a way other people cannot. He explained:
To be fair, it was Rishi Sunak’s wife who was using non-dom status to minimise her tax bills, not Sunak himself. And Sajid Javid has admitted being a non-dom in the past, but he gave that up before he became an MP.To be fair, it was Rishi Sunak’s wife who was using non-dom status to minimise her tax bills, not Sunak himself. And Sajid Javid has admitted being a non-dom in the past, but he gave that up before he became an MP.
Rishi Sunak visited the Treasury’s base in Darlington this morning in a bid to show he is getting on with the job of being chancellor despite the storm around his family’s financial arrangements, PA Media reports.Rishi Sunak visited the Treasury’s base in Darlington this morning in a bid to show he is getting on with the job of being chancellor despite the storm around his family’s financial arrangements, PA Media reports.
The Ministry of Defence has said it fears Russia may use white phosphorus (WP) munitions in the bombardment of the besieged Ukrainian port Mariupol. It has issued the warning in its latest regular intelligence update on the war.The Ministry of Defence has said it fears Russia may use white phosphorus (WP) munitions in the bombardment of the besieged Ukrainian port Mariupol. It has issued the warning in its latest regular intelligence update on the war.
In his interviews this morning George Eustice was also asked about the Homes for Ukraine scheme for refugees, and why by the end of last week only about 1,200 people granted visas under this scheme had arrived in the UK. When it was put to him on LBC that this was a shambles, he would not accept that. He said:In his interviews this morning George Eustice was also asked about the Homes for Ukraine scheme for refugees, and why by the end of last week only about 1,200 people granted visas under this scheme had arrived in the UK. When it was put to him on LBC that this was a shambles, he would not accept that. He said:
UK growth slowed more than expected in February amid a slump in car manufacturing, despite a sharp recovery in overseas holiday bookings after the easing of Covid restrictions, my colleague Richard Partington reports.UK growth slowed more than expected in February amid a slump in car manufacturing, despite a sharp recovery in overseas holiday bookings after the easing of Covid restrictions, my colleague Richard Partington reports.
George Eustice, the environment secretary, was on ‘defend the government’ duty on the airwaves this morning and, although he was meant to be talking about government plans to stop councils charging people for dumping DIY waste in tips (in the hope this will reduce fly-tipping), he spent much of his time talking about Rishi Sunak’s family finances. Here are the main points he made. George Eustice, the environment secretary, was on “defend the government” duty on the airwaves this morning and, although he was meant to be talking about government plans to stop councils charging people for dumping DIY waste in tips (in the hope this will reduce fly-tipping), he spent much of his time talking about Rishi Sunak’s family finances. Here are the main points he made.
Eustice claimed that Sunak had been “very candid” about his affairs. Asked about claims that Sunak had not declared relevant interests, Eustice said:Eustice claimed that Sunak had been “very candid” about his affairs. Asked about claims that Sunak had not declared relevant interests, Eustice said:
Eustice sidestepped a question about whether he understood the anger that the revelation about the chancellor’s wife being a non-dom had caused. Asked by Sky’s Kay Burley if he understood why people were unhappy about this, Eustice suggested Sunak should be judged on his record, and he stressed that Sunak has paid all his taxes.Eustice sidestepped a question about whether he understood the anger that the revelation about the chancellor’s wife being a non-dom had caused. Asked by Sky’s Kay Burley if he understood why people were unhappy about this, Eustice suggested Sunak should be judged on his record, and he stressed that Sunak has paid all his taxes.
Eustice failed to explain why Sunak had kept his US green card for so long. He said the green card was “a hangover” from the time when Sunak was working in the US. But Eustice could not explain why Sunak still had it when he became chancellor.Eustice failed to explain why Sunak had kept his US green card for so long. He said the green card was “a hangover” from the time when Sunak was working in the US. But Eustice could not explain why Sunak still had it when he became chancellor.
Eustice said he did not think Sunak was too wealthy to be chancellor or prime minister. When this suggestion was put to him, he replied:Eustice said he did not think Sunak was too wealthy to be chancellor or prime minister. When this suggestion was put to him, he replied:
Good morning. Last night there were calls for an inquiry into Rishi Sunak’s financial interests - from the chancellor himself. This amounts to voluntarily handing yourself in to the regulatory authorities, and it is a tactic often used by MPs facing misconduct allegations when they a) want to regain control of the narrative, and b) are reasonably confident that they will be cleared.Good morning. Last night there were calls for an inquiry into Rishi Sunak’s financial interests - from the chancellor himself. This amounts to voluntarily handing yourself in to the regulatory authorities, and it is a tactic often used by MPs facing misconduct allegations when they a) want to regain control of the narrative, and b) are reasonably confident that they will be cleared.
On the latter point, Sunak does not seem to have any doubts. He has asked for an inquiry by Lord Geidt, the prime minister’s independent adviser on ministerial standards, into the declarations of interest he has made as a minister and he says he is “confident that such a review of my declarations will find all relevant information was appropriately declared”.On the latter point, Sunak does not seem to have any doubts. He has asked for an inquiry by Lord Geidt, the prime minister’s independent adviser on ministerial standards, into the declarations of interest he has made as a minister and he says he is “confident that such a review of my declarations will find all relevant information was appropriately declared”.
Sunak made his move in response to a letter from Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, calling for an inquiry into Sunak’s alleged failure to declare relevant financial interests, as well as other matters, including his possession of a US green card until quite recently. But Sunak’s statement has failed to silence Labour, and this morning Steve Reed, the shadow justice secretary, renewed his claim that Sunak may have broken the ministerial code. Asked if he thought this was possible, Reed told the Today programme:Sunak made his move in response to a letter from Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, calling for an inquiry into Sunak’s alleged failure to declare relevant financial interests, as well as other matters, including his possession of a US green card until quite recently. But Sunak’s statement has failed to silence Labour, and this morning Steve Reed, the shadow justice secretary, renewed his claim that Sunak may have broken the ministerial code. Asked if he thought this was possible, Reed told the Today programme:
George Eustice, the environment secretary, was defending Sunak in his morning interview round. I will post highlights from his interviews shortly.George Eustice, the environment secretary, was defending Sunak in his morning interview round. I will post highlights from his interviews shortly.
Parliament is not sitting, and the diary for today is relatively empty. But we have a Downing Street lobby briefing at 11.30am, and Keir Starmer is campaigning in the north-east. And in Bournemouth the National Education Union’s conference is taking place.Parliament is not sitting, and the diary for today is relatively empty. But we have a Downing Street lobby briefing at 11.30am, and Keir Starmer is campaigning in the north-east. And in Bournemouth the National Education Union’s conference is taking place.
I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.
If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.
Alternatively, you can email me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com.Alternatively, you can email me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com.