Standards watchdog of British parliament is investigating PM Rishi Sunak over whether he properly declared shareholding of his wife in a childcare company which stands to benefit from new government policy. According to a list of open inquiries on its website on Monday, Parliament’s Commissioner for Standards began the investigation over a “declaration of interest” on April 13.
The commissioner, who gave no details of the investigation, is responsible for the House of Commons code of conduct and investigates any alleged breaches. Under the code of conduct, members of parliament have to provide information about financial interests which might reasonably be thought to influence their work in parliament.
Opposition parties had raised questions over media reports that Sunak’s wife Akshata Murthy was a shareholder in a company set to benefit from support for the childcare sector announced in March’s budget. Sunak’s spokesperson confirmed the investigation was linked to the childcare firm and said, “We are happy to assist the commissioner to clarify how this has been transparently declared as a ministerial interest.”
Meanwhile, the investigation is an embarrassment for Rishi Sunak, who came into office in October promising to lead a government with integrity “at every level” as he sought to revive fortunes of his party ahead of a national election expected to be held next year.
Sunak and Murthy are the richest ever occupants of 10 Downing Street. Murthy is the daughter of one of the founders of Indian IT giant Infosys and owns about 0.9% of the company, worth nearly $600 million based on Monday’s share price.