The inquiry was launched after it was revealed Zahawi paid the penalty to HMRC while he was chancellor over previously unpaid taxes. The report concluded that Zahawi needed to be more open about his finances and meet the standards set out in the ministerial code.
Zahawi Sacked Over Failure to Meet Ministerial Code
The report from Sir Laurie Magnus revealed Zahawi only included the HMRC investigation in his register of interests in July 2022 and failed to update it after a settlement was reached. The report also criticized Zahawi for describing new stories about his tax affairs as "smears" and failing to correct the record until January 2023. The report concluded that Zahawi's conduct as a minister fell below the high standards expected by the prime minister.
Zahawi Praised for Work on Covid Vaccine
In his letter to Zahawi, Rishi Sunak said that he could be "extremely proud" of his achievements in government, including his work overseeing the Covid vaccine. However, politicians from the opposition party have criticized the delay in firing Zahawi and accused the government of prioritizing party over country.
Leveling Up Secretary Defends Appointment
Michael Gove, the Levelling up Secretary, defended Zahawi's appointment, stating that no information was brought to the prime minister's attention that would have led them to believe it was inappropriate to have Zahawi on the team. Gove also emphasized the importance of investigating the situation fully and properly.