6 Car Crash Moments From This Minister’s Attempts To Defend Zahawi

Chris Philp was sent to defend for the government on the country’s top broadcasters this morning amid the emerging scandal around Nadhim Zahawi’s taxes.

Zahawi, the chancellor for a brief period in 2022, had to pay a multi-million pound fine to HMRC in unpaid taxes during his time leading the Treasury.

Zahawi was only chancellor for the last two months of Boris Johnson’s time in office, before going on to become equalities and intergovernmental relations minister and chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster under Liz Truss.

After a brief bid to run as the Tory leader (and subsequently PM), he was then hired as Tory Party chair by Sunak in October.

When reports over the weekend revealed that Zahawi had paid a lump sum to HMRC, he claimed that HMRC had agreed his mistake was “careless and not deliberate”.

While trying to play down the furore around the Tory Party chair’s finances, Philp tripped up several times.

Here’s a round-up of the most eye-opening comments he made while the junior minister was speaking to the media.

1. He claimed Sunak has acted ‘quickly and decisively’

Philp told Sky News’ Kamali Melbourne that PM Rishi Sunak was doing the right thing by ordering an investigation into Zahawi’s tax saga from his independent ethics adviser.

Despite calling for this investigation (which has been criticised for kicking the can down the road), Philp said Sunak has acted “quickly and decisively”.

“He’s done exactly what you would expect someone to do who is committed to maintaining standards in public life.”

However, others believe Sunak should have just fired Zahawi.

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