Rishi Sunak under fire for refusing to face MPs over Spending Review

Rishi Sunak is under fire after REFUSING to appear in front of MPs to answer questions on his controversial Spending Review as the Chancellor ‘faces questions over his family’s finances’

  • Spending Review sparked major controversy as Rishi Sunak cut foreign aid
  • Treasury Select Committee asked the Chancellor to come and answer questions
  • But Mr Sunak has declined, prompting the committee to demand he reconsider 

Rishi Sunak is under fire from MPs after he was accused of refusing to appear in front of the Treasury Select Committee to answer questions about his controversial Spending Review. 

The Chancellor’s spending plans, set out on Wednesday, sparked a political firestorm after he decided to slash the foreign aid budget and freeze public sector pay for many workers. 

The Committee asked Mr Sunak to attend a meeting to give evidence on his proposals but he declined and said he would only appear after next year’s Budget. 

The Tory chairman of the committee, Mel Stride, has now written to the Chancellor to demand he ‘provide evidence to us before the end of the year’. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is under fire from MPs for refusing to appear in front of the Treasury Select Committee to answer questions about his Spending Review

The Spending Review saw Mr Sunak announce a pay freeze for an estimated 1.3 million public sector workers. 

He also cut overseas aid from 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product to 0.5 per cent, slicing about £5 billion from the budget.

The decision to cut the aid budget has prompted a Tory rebellion with many Conservative backbenchers adamant they will not support the move.   

Mr Sunak also told MPs on Wednesday the UK economy is not scheduled to recover to pre-coronavirus crisis levels until the end of 2022. 

The Treasury Select Committee said that the Government’s spending watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, as well as a host of economists had all agreed to give evidence in the coming weeks but the Chancellor has so far declined.

In his letter, ex-Treasury minister Mr Stride told the Cabinet minister, who has been in the job since February, that his predecessors had shown a willingness to give evidence, especially during times of economic upheaval.

He said: ‘The committee and I do not agree that your next appearance would be most appropriate after the Budget.

‘We appreciate that you have appeared in front of us twice this year, but this is an especially critical time when scrutiny of Government policy is particularly vital.

‘Previous chancellors have often appeared before the Treasury Committee three times a year and in 2008 during the financial crisis the then chancellor gave evidence to our committee on five occasions.’

Mr Stride, in a separate statement, said the Spending Review was a ‘major fiscal event with profound implications’ for millions of people. 

‘The committee hopes that the Chancellor will now agree to provide evidence to us before the end of the year,’ he said. 

It came as Mr Sunak faced questions over the transparency of his financial affairs. 

The Guardian reported that Mr Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murthy, and her family hold a multimillion pound portfolio of shareholdings and the Chancellor has not declared it in the register of ministers’ interests. 

Sir Alistair Graham, a former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said the Chancellor appeared to have ‘taken the most minimalist approach possible’ to divulging information. 

But a Treasury spokesman said Mr Sunak had ‘followed the ministerial code to the letter in his declaration of interests’.

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