UK PM Sunak’s parliamentary probe over wife’s shares extended

Downing Street has said that all interests were "transparently declared"

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with his wife Akshata Murty
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with his wife Akshata Murty


An inquiry by the UK’s parliamentary standards watchdog into the process followed by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak when declaring wife Akshata Murty’s business interests was extended in its scope on Monday.

The UK’s Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards had opened the inquiry under Paragraph 6 of the ‘Code of Conduct’ last week, in relation to Sunak declaring Murty’s shares in a childcare firm which stood to benefit from a Spring Budget announcement last month.

In an update on the watchdog’s website on Monday, it emerged that the inquiry has been extended to cover Paragraph 13 as well which relates to disclosure about the inquiry itself.

“Members must not disclose details in relation to: (i) any investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards except when required by law to do so, or authorised by the Commissioner; nor (ii) the proceedings of the Committee on Standards or the Independent Expert Panel in relation to a complaint unless required by law to do so, or authorised by the Committee or the Panel respectively,” reads Paragraph 13 of the code.

The previous ambit of the inquiry under Paragraph 6 related to MPs being expected to "always be open and frank in declaring any relevant interest in any proceeding of the House or its committees, and in any communications with ministers, members, public officials or public office holders".

Downing Street has said that all interests were "transparently declared".

"We are happy to assist the Commissioner to clarify how this has been transparently declared as a ministerial interest," a Downing Street spokesperson said at the time the inquiry was first opened.

The details of the inquiry emerged through sources quoted in the media as relating to Koru Kids Ltd, which is likely to benefit from a new pilot scheme announced in the Spring Budget last month to incentivise people to become childminders. Akshata Murty, the daughter of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy, is listed on the UK’s Companies House register as a shareholder in Koru Kids – one of six childminder agencies in England listed on the government's website with contact details.

The watchdog’s inquiry was soon followed by the UK Cabinet Office releasing the register of ministerial interests last Wednesday, which referenced Murty’s shares in Koru Kids Ltd.

“The Prime Minister’s wife is a venture capital investor. She owns a venture capital investment company, Catamaran Ventures UK Limited, and a number of direct shareholdings,” read the register.

A footnote added: “As the Prime Minister set out in his letter to the Chair of the Liaison Committee on 4 April 2023, this includes the minority shareholding that his wife has in relation to the company, Koru Kids.” The UK’s Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Daniel Greenberg, is an independent officer of the House of Commons in charge of looking at evidence if individual British members of Parliament are feared to have broken a rule under the ‘Code of Conduct’. His findings are expected to be tabled before MPs sitting on the Committee on Standards, which is responsible for deciding any sanctions.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines