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Rishi Sunak describes attacks on the woman’s UK tax status as “uncomfortable trade-offs”.

Rishi Sunak has branded the criticism of his wife an “uncomfortable slander” against him, as the British chancellor has faced further criticism over her non-Dom tax status.

Akshata Murty owns a stake in Indian technology company Infosys, founded by her father and valued at more than £500million. But the explanation that her Non-Dom status is based on her Indian citizenship has been described as “insincere‘ by several tax experts.

They pointed out that Murty would have elected to be a non-Dom for tax reasons.

in a (n interview Speaking to The Sun on Thursday, Sunak hit back at the allegations, saying his wife “loves her country like I love mine,” adding “smearing my wife to get at me is awful.”

The chancellor said Murty “had her own career” and “did 100 percent whatever this country asked of her” to obey the law and pay taxes.

“It would not be reasonable or fair to ask her to cut ties with her country because she happens to be married to me. She loves her country. As I love mine, I would never dream of giving up my British citizenship. And I imagine most people wouldn’t do that,” Sunak said.

“Those are your choices, right? She is a private person and of course I support my wife’s decisions. She is not her husband’s property. Yes, he’s in politics and we understand that, but I think, you know, we understand that she can be someone independent of her husband.”

The row comes after Sunak’s political standing plummeted after the spring declaration. His position on Murty’s tax status was criticized on Friday as “unsustainable” by ConservativeHome, a leading website representing the party’s grassroots.

The Chancellor said the attacks on Murty and her father Narayana Murthy, who founded Infosys, were focused on him. “Trying to frame him, frame my wife to get at me is terrible.

“It’s different when people try to attack you by attacking your family and especially your wife. It’s awkward, especially when she hasn’t done anything wrong.”

Sunak said he thought people had no problem with “the fact that there is an Indian woman living in Downing Street”, although he conceded that “it’s a confusing situation that she’s from another country”.

Shadow Solicitor General Emily Thornberry dismissed suggestions that Labor was trying to “slander” the Chancellor, arguing that they were simply “asking questions that the public wants us to ask”.

Speaking to the BBC, she said: “We end up with someone who has been living here for eight years, raising their children here, living at No 10 Downing Street in taxpayer-provided accommodation and aspiring to be the next man’s wife become prime minister, and yet she says she is not a permanent resident of this country.”

Thornberry added that the public has a right to know “the extent to which his family has benefited from his wife’s financial decision.”

Tobias Ellwood, a Conservative MP and chairman of the House of Commons Defense Committee, said the current rules regarding non-dom status are “outdated” and “need to be reviewed” but he argued the country had other issues to look forward to such as the conflict in Ukraine.

“There is nothing illegal about what the chancellor did. . . If there are bigger, more fundamental questions about the existence of Non-Dom status then we as a country – perhaps and indeed Parliament – need to debate it,” he told Sky News on Friday.

“But the idea that we’re focusing on this discussion of complying with the rules that are actually in place at the moment I think is a distraction from what we need to focus on, what the previous issue was at the moment, from what the UK is doing will do to help other countries and get them to support Ukraine.”

https://www.ft.com/content/ed018eb2-3955-4134-a2b0-8dcf727651bd Rishi Sunak describes attacks on the woman’s UK tax status as “uncomfortable trade-offs”.

Adam Bradshaw

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