Conservative party chairman, Nadhim Zahawi, is said to be determined to stay in his role, despite calls for his resignation following the revelation of a multi-million pound tax dispute. According to the BBC, Mr. Zahawi paid a penalty to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) over unpaid tax while he was chancellor, describing the error as "careless and not deliberate". However, Labour is calling for more transparency and for Rishi Sunak, the current Prime Minister, to "come clean" about his knowledge of the deal, stating that Mr. Zahawi's position is "untenable".

Mr. Zahawi's allies have insisted that he will continue in the role that Mr. Sunak appointed him to less than three months ago. On Saturday, Mr. Zahawi confirmed that he had made a payment to settle the issue, but it has not been confirmed whether the payment included a penalty. The dispute was resolved between July and September last year, with the total amount paid being around £5m.

Pressure has been mounting on Mr. Zahawi to give more details about his finances after reports emerged this week that he had agreed to pay millions of pounds to HMRC to settle his tax affairs. The Guardian had previously reported that Mr. Zahawi paid back tax he had owed, as well as a 30% penalty, with the total settlement amounting to £4.8m. The tax was related to a shareholding in YouGov, the polling company he co-founded in 2000 before he became an MP.

Mr. Zahawi has not confirmed how much his penalty amounted to, nor the total value of the final settlement with HM Revenue and Customs. Labour has called on him to publish all his correspondence with HMRC "so we can get the full picture" and has raised questions over the timing of the dispute. Although it has been confirmed that the issue with HMRC was resolved while Mr. Zahawi was chancellor, it is still not clear when he originally became aware of it.

His allies claim that he told the government's Propriety and Ethics Team, which is in charge of ensuring ethics across government departments, about it before his appointment as chancellor. After becoming chancellor, Mr. Zahawi did not seek to challenge HMRC's demands, but instructed his accountants to pay all of what they said was due.

Former Conservative leader, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, has urged Mr. Zahawi to release "the absolute facts", adding that he does not believe he was "deceitful". Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, has said that it is for Mr. Zahawi to decide "how much detail to put in the public domain". Conservative MP, Tim Loughton, has stated that Mr. Zahawi should have given a fuller account earlier on, and that "the more transparency, as early as possible, might have avoided all this speculation".

It has been reported that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is satisfied with Mr. Zahawi's account and has confidence in him as chairman of the Conservative Party. Mr. Zahawi is a former child refugee who fled Iraq with his parents in the 1970s, and went on to co-found the successful online polling company, YouGov. He is now believed to be one of the richest politicians in the House of Commons, having been elected as Conservative MP for Stratford-on-Avon in 2010. He gained public recognition for his role as vaccines minister during the pandemic and later served as education secretary. Between July and September 2022, he served briefly as chancellor under Boris Johnson, after the resignation of Mr. Sunak.


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