Sage Sunak has been worried for hours about whether he will resign after the Metropolitan Police decided to fine him for attending Boris Johnson’s lockdown-breaking party.
The chancellor discussed his political future yesterday afternoon after the Metropolitan Police’s unexpected decision to attend Johnson’s birthday party in the cabinet room on Downing Street.
It was later revealed that he thought he would not be able to hold on to his post – before denying in Parliament that he had joined any lockdown-breaking party.
He thinks he will remain in politics even if he cannot remain as chancellor and sees no reason for the prime minister to resign.
However, friends warned him that his resignation could be considered genocide against Johnson and could jeopardize his chances of being replaced by Sunak.
Finally, more than seven hours after the police announced the fine, Sunak made a brief statement offering an “unreserved pardon” and indicated that he had decided to remain in office: “I understand that for statistics in government offices, the rules must be strictly enforced to maintain public confidence. “I respect the decision that has been made and I have paid the fine,” he said.
“I know people have sacrificed a lot during Kovid and they will find this situation annoying. I am deeply sorry for the frustration and anger and I am sorry. As Prime Minister, I am focused on delivering to the British people at this challenging time. “
However, sources said Sunak was upset that he was fined for attending the event – although he was not invited and was only present for another meeting with Johnson.
“He is a very respectable man and he is deeply disappointed to be dragged into it,” said one colleague. “It’s natural for him to consider what that means for him.”
Another said: “The sage’s view is that he was only there for a meeting and now he is being humiliated for something he never wanted to do. He is a respected man and he is really wondering if he can still be a part of it. “
A separate source suggested that Sunak was concerned that Johnson had warned Torres electoral strategist Sir Linton Crossby to make the next reshuffle that disclosure of his assets last week would make him electorally responsible.
He thinks it is better to go back to the back bench than to be stigmatized by the team.
However, friends warned that such a move could jeopardize Johnson’s chances of succeeding him – even if the prime minister were eventually forced to resign.
Yet some backbenchers have called for Sunak’s resignation, saying it would be a “great step” that would highlight the moral differences between him and the prime minister. One said that despite Sunak’s criticism of his wife’s tax issues, he would always “follow the rules” and resign. A Sunak spokesman declined to comment.
The double comes after a time of acute discomfort. Last week, there was a public outcry that Sunak’s wife Akshata Murthy was a non-Dom.
Initially, Murthy issued a statement claiming that his tax status was an inevitable consequence of his Indian citizenship. Sunak, however, acknowledged that he had maintained the status of permanent resident of the United States as Chancellor for almost two years, which made that position more sustainable, and Murthy announced on Friday that he would pay UK taxes on all his foreign income.