Sunak publishes list of financial interests after facing sleaze probe

Rishi Sunak quizzed on whether he’s trusted by Tory party

Rishi Sunak has declared the childcare agency his wife holds shares in as a financial interest as he is investigated over a possible breach of the rules. The delayed list of ministerial interests published on Wednesday contained for the first time a reference to “a number of direct shareholdings” owned by Akshata Murty.

The Prime Minister is under investigation by Parliament’s standards watchdog over claims he did not declare his wife’s shares in Koru Kids, a firm boosted by the Budget.

His team insisted he had followed the rules by declaring it as a ministerial interest, rather than to the Commons.

But the list of ministers’ interests had not been updated for nearly a year until its publication shortly before Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had urged Mr Sunak to “come clean” and publish his financial interests to clear up whether there has been any conflict of interest.

Under the section for relevant interests held by a spouse or close relative, Mr Sunak’s entry includes his wife’s venture capital company Catamaran Ventures and unnamed “direct shareholdings”.

A note adds that these include her “minority shareholding” in Koru Kids, which Mr Sunak declined to mention when questioned by MPs last month over why one of his policies specifically benefited childminders who sign up through private agencies.

Speaking earlier, Mr Sunak’s ethics adviser Sir Laurie Magnus said he was content that “any actual, potential and perceived” conflicts of interests involving ministers “have been, or are in the process of being” resolved.

His comments came in the first list of ministerial interests he has overseen.

The independent adviser on ministers’ interests explained: “The list is not a register of interests and does not therefore include every interest that a minister has declared in relation to themselves and their family members.

“To do so would represent an excessive degree of intrusion into the private affairs of ministers that would be unreasonable, particularly in respect of their family members.

“The list instead documents those interests, including of close family, which are, or may be perceived to be, directly relevant to a minister’s ministerial responsibilities.”

Sir Laurie said: “I am content that any actual, potential and perceived conflicts have been, or are in the process of being, resolved, but it is important that ministers and their permanent secretaries remain alert in the context of their respective portfolios if ministers’ interests change.”

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