Hunt does not rule out receiving tax penalty amid calls for Zahawi to go

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt insisted journalists would not find anything ‘interesting’ in his tax affairs.

27 January 2023

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt twice declined to say whether he has paid a tax penalty, as ministers’ financial affairs come under scrutiny amid the furore surrounding Nadhim Zahawi.

Mr Hunt insisted on Friday that journalists would not find anything “interesting” in his tax affairs and claimed the public are not “remotely interested” in the subject.

He was responding to questions amid growing calls for Mr Zahawi to step aside as Tory party chairman while under investigation for settling a multimillion-pound tax dispute while chancellor.

Mr Zahawi has authorised HM Revenue and Customs to discuss his settlement – estimated to be worth £4.8 million and include a penalty – with the investigation ordered by Rishi Sunak.

Pressure on ministers only grew after HMRC boss Jim Harra told MPs there are “no penalties for innocent errors in your tax affairs”.

Under questioning after a Bloomberg speech, Mr Hunt said: “I’m not going to talk about my personal tax affairs, but I don’t think there’s anything you’d find interesting to write about if I can put it that way.”

He declined to answer when pressed again and added: “By the way, I don’t think people at home are remotely interested in personal tax affairs, they are interested in these things,” gesturing towards the Government’s five priorities.

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