Rishi Sunak broke the MPs’ code of conduct by failing to correctly declare his wife’s shares in a childminding company, the Commons’ standards commissioner has said.
Daniel Greenberg concluded the breach arose out of the prime minister’s “confusion” around the rules on declaration, and decided to close the inquiry without the need for further action.
The standards commissioner opened the inquiry in April following concerns that Sunak did not detail his wife’s shares in a childcare agency that benefited from the spring budget.
Sunak declared Akshata Murty’s stake in Koru Kids in the ministerial register of interests after he failed to mention it when being questioned by an MP on the liaison committee.
Greenberg said: “In accordance with the code of conduct, Murty’s shareholding was a relevant interest that should have been declared during the liaison committee meeting on March 28, 2023.”
He said he was satisfied Sunak had “confused” the concept of registration relating to arrangements for ministers with the concept of declaration of interests for MPs.
“I formed the view that the failure to declare arose out of this confusion and was accordingly inadvertent on the part of Sunak,” the standards commissioner concluded.
Greenberg said: “During a meeting with Sunak on June 30, I acknowledged he may not have been aware of Murty’s shareholding at the time of the liaison committee meeting, but he had a duty to correct the record.
“However, Sunak was aware of the interest when he subsequently wrote to the chair of the liaison committee, Sir Bernard Jenkin MP, on April 4, 2023, and he failed to declare the interest at that stage or correct the record.”
Writing to Greenberg, Sunak said: “Should this scenario arise again, I have acknowledged that I have a duty to write to the committee after my appearance to correct the record.
“I accept and once again apologise that my letter to the liaison committee on April 4, 2023 was not sufficiently expansive, as it confused the language of registration and declaration.”
The prime minister’s press secretary said: “The commissioner’s investigation into the prime minister’s declaration of interest has been resolved by way of rectification. The prime minister takes seriously his responsibilities to register and declare all relevant interests.”
By Ben Hatton, PA Political Staff