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Rishi Sunak breached code of conduct over row into wife’s childcare company shares

The prime minister was found to have breached the code of conduct around the confidentiality of investigations

Archie Mitchell
Thursday 14 September 2023 10:50 BST
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (PA Archive)

Rishi Sunak broke parliament’s rules by revealing details of a parliamentary investigation into his wife’s shares in a childcare agency to the media, a committee has found.

The prime minister was found to have committed a “minor and inadvertent breach” of the MPs’ code of conduct by the House of Commons standards committee.

It came after details of standards commissioner Daniel Greenberg’s investigation into a failure to correctly declare his wife’s financial interest in a childminding company were confirmed to the media.

The Commons Standards Committee said: “The statements to the press by the No 10 spokesperson went beyond what could already be inferred from information properly in the public domain, by indicating how Mr Sunak intended initially to respond to the Commissioner.

“Mr Sunak has rightly taken responsibility for this disclosure, which breached paragraph 13 of the Code, on confidentiality of investigations. We consider this, however, to be a minor and inadvertent breach of the Code.”

Liberal Democrat chief whip Wendy Chamberlain said “another day, another breach of the rules by Rishi Sunak”.

She added: “Sunak promised to govern with integrity, instead he is continuing the same old sleaze and scandal as under Boris Johnson.

"It's little wonder voters across the country are fed up with this failing government and just want them out of office."

It came after a finding that Mr Sunak also breached the rules by failing to properly declare his wife’s shares in a childcare agency boosted by the Budget.

The chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, announced in March incentive payments of £600 for childminders joining the profession, and £1,200 if they join through an agency, like Koru Kids, which Akshata Murty has shares in. Koru Kids at the time welcomed the new incentives as “great”.

Commissioner for Standards Daniel Greenberg opened the probe in April after Mr Sunak failed to mention those shares when questioned by parliament’s liaison committee.

That breach was also deemed inadvertent as a result of Mr Sunak’s “confusion” about the rules on declarations, and no action was taken.

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