Sir Keir told the Commons: “His failure to sack him when the whole country knows what is going on shows how weak he is.”
“A prime minister overseeing chaos, overwhelmed at every turn… He can’t even deal with tax evaders in his cabinet. Is he starting to think if this job is too big for him?” the labor leader added.
Mr Sunak, who has ordered an inquiry into the Zahavi Kar saga by his ethics adviser, suggested it would have been “politically expedient” to sack his arson minister before PMQs.
But the prime minister insisted the Tory chairman Sir Keir deserves “due process” over the investigation by his ethics adviser, accusing him of “political opportunism”.
Mr Sunak said the HMRC tax investigation – first revealed by Independent In July – “happened before I became prime minister”, adding that “the normal appointment process was followed” when he offered the cabinet job to Mr. Zahavi.
A week ago, Mr Sunak told MPs Mr Zahavi had “already fully addressed the matter” – but Number 10 said the PM was not aware that the Tory chairman had asked HMRC for part of the settlement. was fined as such.
“No issues were raised with me, and since I commented on the matter last week, more information has come to light, and that is why I have asked an independent consultant to look into the matter.”
More senior Tory figures have called for Mr Zahavi to resign from his role as party chairman amid the ongoing controversy.
Influential peer Lord Hayward became the latest Tory to say they should step aside, at least until the inquiry is over – warning that the saga could help “flatline” Tory popularity ahead of local elections. Can
Ex-Tory minister David Gauke found it “hard to see how this doesn’t ultimately end in resignation”. Former Tory attorney general Dominic Grieve said the prime minister did not need his adviser’s inquiry to answer the “obvious question” of whether Mr Zahavi had acted with integrity.
The PM faces growing opposition from his own MPs over his decision to keep the Tory speaker in cabinet, with one former minister saying Independent It was “madness” to leave the case unsolved.
Taking a dig at Mr Sunak’s wife’s non-dom tax status – then discarded revealed by Independent Sir Keir said: “We all know the prime minister was reluctant to ask his party chairman questions about his family’s finances and tax evasion.”