Environment Secretary George Eustice insisted he was not ‘the accountant of cabinet colleagues’ as he was quizzed on whether his fellow ministers had previously held non-executive status. -dom.
It comes after Rishi Sunak faced intense pressure days after The Independent‘s revelation that his wife, Akshata Murty, whose father is one of India’s richest men, has claimed non-domicile status.
In an attempt to draw a line under the controversy, and after Mrs Murty announced that she would review her tax affairs, the Chancellor on Sunday evening asked Lord Geidt, Boris Johnson’s independent adviser for ministerial interests, to review all her statements since 2018.
Over the weekend, Sajid Javid, the health secretary, also admitted to having The temperature that he held non-dom status between 2000 and 2006 – before becoming an MP and while working for Deutsche Bank.
The minister said he was eligible for the scheme, which allows an individual to avoid paying UK tax on their overseas income because their father was born in Pakistan.
Asked if he could expect anyone else in the cabinet to show up after the Health Secretary’s admission, Mr Eustice told Sky News: ‘Well, I don’t know – all I can tell you is that I am not the accountant for my ministerial colleagues in the cabinet.
“I don’t know of anyone who has or hasn’t had non-dom status. I can tell you that I have never had one and that I will never try to have one”.
Pressed on the Chancellor’s controversial admission on Friday that he held a US green card – granting him permanent residency in America – Mr Eustice said he ‘got rid of it a few years ago’.
After being corrected by presenter Kay Burley, who pointed out that Mr Sunak did not return the green card until October 2021, 19 months after he was appointed Chancellor, he added: ‘Well he has got rid of the green card now.
“All I’m saying is he worked in the United States for a period of time, during that period he had a green card, he kept that green card for a period after that, but if I understand well, it didn’t affect the tax he paid here in the UK.
Mr Eustice also said he was not ‘an expert’ on the green card system, saying: ‘I’ve never had one myself, and I would never seek one to be honest “.
The minister also dodged questions about whether he understood the public’s anger at the revelations, pointing out that Ms Murty was changing her tax arrangements to pay UK tax on overseas earnings.
“Rishi himself wrote to the Prime Minister and asked the Ministerial Standards Advisor to look into this matter,” he said. “It’s very clear he said everything that should have been said at the right time.
“There is a process that you have as a minister – you declare all your interests to the permanent secretary of your department and the Cabinet Office then decides which elements must be made public. »
Shadow Justice Secretary Steve Reed, however, claimed the Chancellor had breached the Ministerial Code, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Absolutely. But this is not an isolated incident, there are other failures here too.
The Labor leader added: ‘He also failed to declare his wife’s £690m stake in Infosys, an India-based IT company, which had, as far as we could find, 15 shares different. in one-on-one meetings with senior ministers, including the Prime Minister, and secured multi-million pound government contracts.
‘Now if the Chancellor’s household benefits from contracts like this, it should have been something he said in the register of interests, but he didn’t.
“There is a whole list of areas where the Chancellor seems to have failed to declare things he should have declared. »
We wish to say thanks to the author of this article for this awesome web content
‘I’m not accountant for cabinet colleagues’: Eustice quizzed on ministers’ non-dom status – Reuters News in France and abroad