Keir Starmer has demanded that Boris Johnson confirm whether any government ministers have used measures to reduce their tax payments in the UK.
The Labour leader accused Mr Sunak of “hypocrisy” at a time when he has raised taxes to their highest levels for 70 years. And he said it was “sloppy” of Mr Johnson to appoint two chancellors with what he termed “suspect” tax affairs, after Sajid Javid, the health secretary, revealed that he held non-dom status when a banker.
Downing Street said that the prime minister still has “full confidence” in Mr Sunak, who was also revealed to have held a US green card – indicating that he intends to make his permanent home in America – while serving as a UK government minister.
But Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner raised questions about the inquiry, pointing out that an official government statement released on Saturday said that the prime minister’s independent ethics adviser Lord Geidt had already looked into Mr Sunak’s affairs and concluded that the chancellor had followed the ministerial code of conduct ‘to the letter.
Downing Street confirmed this morning that Mr Johnson had asked Lord Geidt, at Mr Sunak’s request, to conduct an inquiry into whether the chancellor’s interests had been correctly declared.
Sir Keir called on the PM to “bring this saga to a close” by being open about any minister who have taken measures to minimise their own tax burden at a time when Britons are facing the worst cost of living crunch in decades.
“While he insists on making working people pay more taxes, the prime minister owes it to the public to confirm his cabinet are not finding ways to pay less,” said the Labour leader.
“The scale of the chancellor’s hypocrisy is difficult to swallow against the backdrop of a cost of living crisis. We now know that the health secretary – the former chancellor – also knows his way around a tax reduction scheme.
“To appoint one chancellor with suspect tax affairs is sloppy, to appoint two is a habit. It really is one rule for them, and another for everyone else.
“For every day this chaos continues, energy bills are going up, prices are going up, and this government isn’t doing anything to help people paralysed by the cost of living crisis.