Rishi Sunak has written to Boris Johnson asking for an investigation into his own affairs in a bid to put to bed the row sparked by his wife’s non-domiciled tax arrangements and his US green card. The Chancellor has asked that all his declarations since becoming a minister in 2018 be examined, saying that he is “confident” that everything has been properly declared. The move follows criticism that his minister’s interests makes no mention of the £690m stake in global IT company Infosys held by his wife, Akshata Murty. He is also facing pressure over whether holding a US green card while being Chancellor – only giving up the document that declares him a “permanent US resident” in October last year – presented a conflict of interest. There were reports that Sunak was considering his position over the weekend and he moved his family out of their Downing Street residence, back to their home in Kensington, on Sunday. His allies said the move is related to wanting to be closer to his daughter’s school.
Angela Rayner wrote to the Prime Minister on Sunday with a number of questions – including whether Sunak has ever benefitted from the use of tax havens, particularly when he ran hedge funds before becoming an MP, and whether he has received any updates on his blind trust since becoming Chancellor. Yvette Cooper said on Sunday that Labour is “carrying out a “review of all the tax exemptions and tax arrangements”, but the Shadow Home Secretary stopped short of saying the party would scrap the non-dom tax status. Labour’s Steve Reed said this morning that Labour is looking to close tax loopholes as it is “not fair that extremely wealthy individuals are able to dodge their own taxes”. Challenged over whether other ministers have held non-dom status, minister George Eustice protested (not very reassuringly): “I’m not the accountant for my ministerial colleagues in cabinet, I don’t know anybody who may or may not have had non-dom status.” Much to the frustration of the government – and ‘Dishy Rishi’ – this story is not going away.
Across the Channel, Emmanuel Macron topped the first round of the French presidential election. The incumbent received 27.6% of the vote, ahead of far-right Marine Le Pen on 23%. Macron scored higher in the first round than he did five years ago, but so did Le Pen. The outcome of the first ballot means French voters will get to pick between Macron and Le Pen in a run-off vote for the French presidency in two weeks’ time in a rerun of the 2017 election. Left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who outperformed expectations to take 21.5% of the vote on Sunday, called on his supporters not to back Le Pen in the final vote but has not endorsed Macron.
Closer to home, Labour is today unveiling a pledge to create a system of ‘community and victim payback boards’ as part of its “community crime crackdown” ahead of the local elections next month. The opposition party is touting the boards as a means of strengthening community and victim involvement in sentencing, reducing antisocial behaviour and stopping more serious offending. “Community payback can stop more serious reoffending, but judges have stopped handing it out because this soft-on-crime Conservative government cannot be trusted to make sure offenders pay back for their crimes,” Keir Starmer argued. Labour has said CVPBs would operate through community safety partnerships or other existing infrastructure at no additional cost. Read our write-up here.
Finally, Sienna said goodbye to LabourList on Friday. My editorship begins today. I am excited to be taking over the reins, and more than a little bit nervous to be taking over from Sienna. I am incredibly grateful for the hard work she has poured into transforming LabourList, and I hope to meet the excellent standard she has set. LabourList is a trusted and valued resource for party members, hacks and quite frankly anyone interested in knowing more about the Labour Party and the labour movement. We will continue the tradition of supplying comment from across the labour movement, offering diverse insight, analysis and opinion from trade unions, local and national Labour figures, members, activists and the various wings of the party. Katie and I will continue to provide readers with the independent journalism that you have come to expect, providing insight, analysis and breaking news – and we have exciting ideas about how to expand our content to provide even more. Watch this space.Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.