Nadhim Zahawi’s “careless” tax error over an alleged £27 million sum seems to have fuelled several days’ worth of Twitter jokes.
The Tory Party chair is at the centre of a media storm after it was revealed on Friday that he had to pay a penalty to HMRC over unpaid tax last year, when he was chancellor (and therefore head of HMRC) under Boris Johnson.
The Guardian and the BBC reported that Zahawi paid back the tax along with a 30% penalty – adding up to around £4.8 million in total.
The multi-million pound dispute has prompted speculation that Zahawi was trying to avoid paying tax on a £27 million fortune.
However, Zahawi he has not confirmed the exact amount himself.
The cabinet minister said this mistake, connected to his shares in the polling company YouGov which he co-founded in 2000, was “careless and not deliberate”.
PM Rishi Sunak has now asked his independent ethics adviser to look into the claims to check Zahawi’s “compliance with the ministerial code” as there were “questions that need answering”, adding that the cabinet minister had agreed to “fully cooperate”.
Zahawi has said that he welcomed the investigation and looked forward to “explaining the facts of this issue” to the ethics adviser Sir Laurie Magnus.
He said: “In order to ensure the independence of this process, you will understand that it would be inappropriate to discuss this issue any further, as I continue my duties as chairman of the Conservative and Unionist Party.”
But while the top Tory may have chosen not to discuss the matter any further, Twitter has been only too happy to dissect the issue.
There were jokes…
Tweets of pure disbelief…
And throwbacks to Sue Gray…
The senior civil servant who became famous for investigating partygate last year has faced a resurgence on Twitter amid these allegations.