Key events

A tax lawyer, Dan Neidle, has been quizzed on Sky News about the Prime Minister benefiting from capital gains being taxed at a lower rate than income in the UK.

Asked on why Rishi Sunak’s tax return suggested he paid an effective tax rate of 22% across three years, Neidle told Sky News: “It is not because he has done anything clever or because he is avoiding tax.

He said:

It is because in this country we tax employment income at up to 47% but capital gains on investments at only 20%.

That is why his effective rate is so low.

Whether that is a fair result, whether the law should be like that is a very good question.

And weirdly Mr Sunak, who benefits from that low rate, is also the man who has the power to change it.

Keir Starmer to reveal tax returns today or tomorrow

The Huffington Post has an exclusive this morning, showing that Keir Starmer will release his tax returns in the next 24 hours.

The story says:

The move comes after it emerged Rishi Sunak earned nearly £5 million in the last three years.

Starmer said in January that he would also disclose how much he earns and the tax he pays. It is understood he could do so as soon as today, although it may be tomorrow.

Sunak became the first prime minister since David Cameron to release his tax returns.

They showed that he paid HMRC just over £1 million between 2019 and 2022.

Tax returns dating back to Sunak’s time as chancellor show that between 2019/20 and 2021/22, he received £1,006,374 in income, plus £3,760,588 in capital gains – a total of £4,766,962.

On that, he paid income tax and capital gains tax totalling £1,053,060.

Conservatives fear byelection prompted by any Partygate suspension would lead to losing Boris Johnson’s Uxbridge constituency

Rachel Hall

Rachel Hall

Good morning,

Today there’s one thing everyone is talking about in Westminster: is this the death knell for Boris Johnson’s political career?

His face this morning is splashed across the newspaper front pages, where he is variously described as “agile”, “defiant” and “rattled”.

Johnson appeared before the privileges committee to defend attending parties as an essential pandemic activity, in the hope that MPs might agree that he did not mislead parliament.

The Times notes that in his Uxbridge constituency, a suspension of “10 days or more would make a byelection … almost inevitable”. Meanwhile the Telegraph’s associate editor writes: “The cults of Boris and Brexit are simultaneously imploding.”

The Tory peer Lord Hayward told Sky News this morning that a byelection “would cause serious problems”, and was something the party “doesn’t want” as it would probably lose the constituency.

A former minister told the Guardian: “Before today, I thought there was a rump of 60-70 supporters in the party who could resurrect Boris. Now I’d put that number at about 25.”

Yet Politico quotes a member of his team as saying: “It went very well for Boris and he and his team are very satisfied with the performance. He was robust, accurate and put his case excellently. He was precise on the detail. We are very confident, given the strength of the evidence.”

The other key topic this morning is the prime minister, Rishi Sunak’s tax documents, which showed that in total he paid just over £1m in UK tax over the course of three years, giving him an effective tax rate of 22%. The Labour deputy leader, Angela Rayner, said that was less than most ordinary working people pay.

On BBC Radio 1’s Today programme, the shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, was asked whether Labour was committed to equalising capital gains tax with income tax. She said:

I think really the point we’re making is that there has been a pattern here from the Conservatives of, when times are tough for everybody else, actually making it easier for those on the highest incomes rather than saying well, those with the broadest shoulders should not just pay their fair share but should pay more.

That’s not the right approach for people across the country. We want to support people through a cost-of-living crisis and make sure that our economy grows.

While there will be plenty more reaction to Johnson’s appearance today, here’s the schedule in parliament:

House of Commons:

0930 Business and trade questions

1030 Urgent questions/statements

A statement from the business, energy and industrial strategy committee report on a memorandum of understanding on scrutiny of the Investment Security Unit

Backbench business debates on (i) World Down Syndrome Day (ii) Tackling the energy trilemma

An adjournment debate on protection of heritage assets in London

Westminster Hall

1330 Whistleblowing Awareness Week

1500 Support for women in poverty

House of Lords

1100 Oral questions

1140 Strikes (minimum service levels) bill – committee stage (day two)

Thanks for following today – as always, do get in touch if we’ve missed anything.

Alexandra Topping

Alexandra Topping

Guardian senior reporter Alexandra Topping has been listening in to the morning broadcast rounds. Here’s her report on the appearance of the Tory peer Lord Hayward on Sky News:

The Conservatives risk losing Boris Johnson’s seat if the former prime minister is suspended for recklessly misleading parliament by MPs investigating the Partygate scandal, according to a pollster.

Johnson could face a byelection if he is found to be in contempt of parliament and is suspended for 10 days or more.

Hayward said a byelection in Uxbridge and South Ruislip could “cause serious problems” for the Conservatives.

On Wednesday MPs investigating the Partygate scandal denounced Johnson’s “flimsy” explanations and suggested he had wrongly interpreted Covid guidance. Johnson repeatedly claimed No 10 parties, with alcohol and little social distancing, had been “necessary” for work purposes.

Hayward told Sky News that the Conservatives “did not want” a byelection.

My guess is that if there were a byelection, certainly on current polls, we would lose the constituency and therefore it’s something that is there but we can’t prejudge what the committee will decide.

Asked about Johnson’s popularity with Tory members, Hayward said that his popularity and influence was diminishing “the longer that Rishi Sunak is prime minister”.

Johnson’s appearance in front of Wednesday’s privileges committee session distracted from Sunak’s message of “competence and managerial expertise”.

He added: “Every time this issue comes back, people are reminded of the chaos that there was in the Tory party last year.”

Hayward said a Labour victory at the next election was “becoming less certain”.

The pollster told Sky News the “mood has changed” in the Conservative party after Rishi Sunak’s handling of Brexit and the outcome of the budget.

You could talk to Tory MPs, they were [saying], ‘We’re going to lose, I’m going to lose my seat, it is a disaster.’ Labour were virtually measuring up for the curtains. But the atmosphere has changed. There is a degree of uncertainty.

After saying he had spoken to a Liberal Democrat who had bet on there being no overall majority after the next election, he was asked whether that was a good bet to make.

He replied:

I think it is risky still. The likelihood is that you would expect Labour to win the next election, but I think the prospects of that are becoming less certain.

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