Rishi Sunak insists he WON’T fire Nadhim Zahawi over £5m tax dispute as independent probe launched

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. Picture date: Wednesday January 25, 2023. See PA story Politics PMQs. Photo credit should read: House of Commons/PA Wire

RISHI Sunak rejected calls to fire Nadhim Zahawi today, amid an ethics probe into the embattled Tory Chair’s tax affairs.

At PMQs Mr Sunak insisted it’s right that an independent advisor examines the case before decisions about Mr Zahawi’s political future are made.

Rishi Sunak rejected calls to fire Nadhim Zahawi at PMQs today

The PM said: “I believe in proper due process, that’s why I appointed an independent advisor.

“I obviously can’t prejudge the outcome of that, but it is right. It is right that we fully investigate this matter and establish all of the facts.”

Mr Zahawi is facing calls from Labour and even some of his own Conservative colleagues to stand down.

The millionaire paid the taxman a settlement of around £4.8 million including a 30 per cent penalty of £1 million while serving as Chancellor following a dispute.

At PMQs Sir Keir Starmer blasted Mr Sunak as weak for not disciplining the Tory Chair.

“Someone who seeks to avoid tax can’t also be in charge of tax,” the Labour leader said.

“For some reason the Prime Minister can’t bring himself to say that. His failure to sack him when the whole country can see what’s going on show how hopelessly weak he is.

“A Prime Minister overseeing chaos, overwhelmed at every turn.”

Yesterday, Tory ex-minister Caroline Nokes said the probe into Mr Zahawi was becoming a “distraction” for the government.

Ms Nokes said: “There are countless examples of good, competent cabinet colleagues who got themselves in a mess who have resigned quickly and come back, really in some instances just a few months later.

“And I think in order to get this cleared up, Nadhim should stand aside and let the investigation run its course.”

Hitting back at Sir Keir this afternoon, the PM commented: “Of course the politically expedient thing for me to do would’ve been to say that this matter must be resolved by Wednesday at noon.

“But I believe in proper due process. That’s why I appointed an independent advisor.”