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The Guardian view on Rishi Sunak and Nadhim Zahawi: a judgment call | Editorial

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The prime minister’s reluctance to express an opinion on the known facts of the case is a sign of political weakness

There are two reasons why Rishi Sunak might not know the details of Nadhim Zahawi’s tax affairs. Either the prime minister didn’t ask, or he did, and the Tory chairman didn’t answer fully. In both scenarios, Mr Sunak looks weak. His political antennae should have been twitching at the first hint of trouble around the finances of a Conservative cabinet minister.

Mr Zahawi was chancellor, albeit very briefly. How he manages money, his dispute with HMRC and its resolution in a penalty of several million pounds are matters of public interest. So too are the threats of legal action against journalists who sought to establish the facts, indicating something short of a commitment to transparency and accountability.

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