Nadhim Zahawi under pressure to quit ahead of PMQs as standards watchdog criticizes his threats to sue – UK politics live | Politics

Sir Mark Rowley, the Metropolitan police commissioner, opens the meeting with a statement about the David Carrick case.

“,”elementId”:”1272f960-9b81-48ac-a402-32b349988bb0″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

He says high standards are at the top of his agenda. He has tens of thousands of great men and women working for him. But there are hundreds of officers who should not be in the force, and Carrick was an example.

“,”elementId”:”c380a6a4-cd3b-4307-bdc0-9e68e5f90f25″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

He says the Met has not applied the same sense of ruthlessness to protecting its integrity as it has to catching criminals.

“,”elementId”:”cd09200d-a6fd-4a23-b1e0-ad092249aa45″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

He apologises to Carrick’s victims, and to all women in London whose trust in the police has been shaken by this.

“,”elementId”:”e93e46bc-2abe-454f-8d29-420dacdf26fb”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Turning to the action he has taken, he says he has increased the number of anti-corruption staff and created a new anti-corruption unit. That is receiving complaints that are being investigated.

“,”elementId”:”582c9de0-aeb3-46c1-92c4-b47731e60ac5″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Some of the calls are for other forces, and those are being passed on. He says in this respect the Met is leading the way.

“,”elementId”:”7fadcb75-bb5a-476a-bf84-3c7bf25b4b19″}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”summary”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1674640963000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”10.02 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1674641225000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”10.07 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1674641226000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”10.07 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”10.07″,”title”:”Met commissioner apologises to women in London over David Carrick case”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Wed 25 Jan 2023 10.07 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Wed 25 Jan 2023 09.11 GMT”}],”filterKeyEvents”:false,”format”:{“display”:0,”theme”:0,”design”:10},”id”:”key-events-carousel-mobile”}”>

Key events

Met commissioner apologizes to women in London over David Carrick case

Sir Mark Rowleythe Metropolitan police commissioner, opened the meeting with a statement about the David Carrick case.

He says high standards are at the top of his agenda. He has tens of thousands of great men and women working for him. But there are hundreds of officers who should not be in the force, and Carrick was an example.

He says the Met has not applied the same sense of ruthlessness to protecting its integrity as it has to catching criminals.

He apologizes to Carrick’s victims, and to all women in London whose trust in the police has been shaken by this.

Turning to the action he has taken, he says he has increased the number of anti-corruption staff and created a new anti-corruption unit. That is receiving complaints that are being investigated.

Some of the calls are for other forces, and those are being passed on. He says in this respect the Met is leading the way.

Sir Mark Rowley, the Metropolitan police commissioner, is about to give evidence to the London assembly’s police and crime committee. There is a live feed here.

Keir Starmer will use his questions at PMQs to try to establish when Rishi Sunak learned details of Nadhim Zahawi’s tax arrangements, Robert Wright and George Parker write in the Financial Times. They say:

Sir Keir Starmer, Labor leader, will demand answers from Sunak at prime minister’s questions. “The key question to Sunak is: what did he know and when did he know it,” said one Starmer ally.

Sunak told MPs last Wednesday that Zahawi had “already addressed the matter in full and there is nothing more that I can add”, as he attempted to draw a line under the matter.

But three days later Zahawi admitted he had paid a penalty to HM Revenue & Customs, the tax authority, as part of a settlement of about £5mn over unpaid taxes. Sunak’s allies said Zahawi’s statement “came as news to us”.

Starmer will try to establish why Sunak did not know the facts of the affair last week — the story of the tax settlement broke days earlier in the Sun on Sunday — when he told MPs the matter had been addressed “in full”.

Good morning. Rishi Sunak is taking PMQs in about three hours and, as he rehearses how to respond to Keir Starmer’s attack lines, one thing he would appreciate is an interruption from an aide saying that the minister without portfolio in the Cabinet Office (Nadhim Zahawi) is on the line to offer his resignation. If Zahawi were to quit this morning, PMQs would be a lot easier.

That does not mean it will happen. Sunak has said that he wants Zahawi’s fate to be decided by the ethics adviser’s inquiry, and Zahawi has said that he has done nothing wrong and intends to stay in post. But on the Today program a few minutes ago David Gaukethe former Tory cabinet minister, said it was “hard to see how this doesn’t ultimately end in [Zahawi’s] resignation”. He also said, if Zahawi was still in post at 12pm, PMQs was going to be “very uncomfortable” for the prime minister.

Sunak may have thought that the decision to order an inquiry would close down the debate about Zehawi until the findings were in. But that has not happened, and increasingly Zahawi is being criticized, not just for having to pay a penalty to HM Revenue and Customs for not paying tax owed on time, but for threatening journalists with libel action last summer when they started making inquiries. Last night Lord Evans, the chair of the committee on standards in public life, was particularly critical of this in an interview with the BBC’s PM program. He said:

If you’re trying to close down a legitimate public debate, I don’t think that lives up to the standards Lord Nolan laid down and which the government has committed itself to. Accountability [and] openness are things which the government says that it wants to be characterizing its own behavior, so that I think speaks for itself…

The sort of attempts, apparent legal attempts, to suppress this story… I don’t think that does live up to the sort of standards that the public would rightly expect.

On the Today program this morning Gauke, a former justice secretary, also criticized Zahawi on this point. He said:

What we now know is that what Nadhim Zahawi was saying in the summer is very hard, if not impossible, to reconcile with the information that he has paid a penalty in respect of his [tax] arrangement…

It appears that he was threatening to sue people for libel for essentially telling the truth, for essentially setting out an analysis of what happened that seems to stand up to reality.

Here is the agenda for the day.

10am: Sir Mark Rowley, the Metropolitan police commissioner, takes questions from the London assembly’s police and crime committee about the David Carrick case.

12pm: Rishi Sunak faces Keir Starmer at PMQs.

12pm: Michael Gove, the leveling up secretary, speaks at the Convention of the North conference. Lisa Nandy, his Labour shadow, is speaking at 2.50pm.

2.30pm: Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, gives evidence to the women and equalities committee about equality in the asylum process.

I’ll try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you can email me at [email protected]

Leave a Comment