Rishi Sunak should publish tax returns in full, say senior Tories

Senior Tories said the publication of tax returns – a convention for US presidential candidates – would help restore public confidence.

It would follow a precedent set by David Cameron, who published his returns after a controversy over his shareholdings, as did George Osborne, then the Chancellor, Boris Johnson, then the London mayor, Jeremy Corbyn, the former Labour leader, and John McDonnell, the ex-shadow chancellor.

David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, said politicians in charge of the nation’s finances should be transparent about their personal arrangements, suggesting those in the financial and business ministries should publish their tax returns from the previous five years and subsequent two.

“It would be a sensible way to improve transparency,” he said. “I would include the Prime Minister as the First Lord of the Treasury and I would also make a summary of the blind trust available to the public even if it was a year’s lag.”

Kevin Hollinrake, a Tory member of the Commons Treasury committee, said such a move would “help restore public confidence that people in politics do pay their fair share. I would be in favour of it”.

But he added: “One caveat I would have is that we want to avoid the politics of envy. We want successful people in politics rather than being deterred by sensationalised treatment of their wealth.”

Another former Cabinet minister said he could “see a case” for ministers in financial departments, adding: “With that transparency, people can stop being so judgemental about decisions people take.

“I dislike the implication that Conservative politicians are trying to avoid or evade tax whereas in fact they are being successful and are trying to manage their affairs in line with the advice that they are given.”

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