Liberal Democrats report Sunak to standards commissioner over failure to declare investments

The Liberal Democrats have reported Rishi Sunak to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards – after accusing him of failing to declare details of his multi-million pound investments prior to entering the Cabinet.

Last week Sunak referred himself to Lord Geidt, the Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests, regarding his Ministerial register of interests. However, Liberal Democrats are today reporting Sunak to Kathryn Stone, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, regarding his declaration of interests as an MP from 2015-2019 before entering the Cabinet.

When Sunak became Chief Secretary to the Treasury in July 2019, he reported that he had investments in a blind trust, which means he is not party to the details of his own assets. However, Sunak did not declare these investments under the MPs’ register of financial interests during the previous four years. This includes his time as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Local Government from January 2018 to July 2019.

Under the MPs’ code of conduct, MPs are required to register, “Any relevant financial interest…if the Member nevertheless considers that it meets the test of relevance; in other words, that it might reasonably be thought by others to influence his or her actions or words as a Member”.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper has labelled Sunak’s failure to declare the details of his financial interests as “shameful” and has written to Kathryn Stone, urging her to investigate the situation.

The Liberal Democrats are also calling for the Chancellor to finally be transparent about his financial interests, by publishing the details he holds about his blind trust – including: how much money it contains, how much income he receives from it, how much tax he pays on that income, and what legal arrangements are in place to ensure it is actually ‘blind’.