BBC QT: Emily Thornberry tears into Greg Hands over Rishis wife – She should pay taxes

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BBC Question Time returned to TV screens last night as Fiona Bruce hosted the most recent episode in Canterbury but the show took a turn when the two London MPs had a fraught exchange about the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr Hands, who was first elected as the MP for Chelsea & Fulham in 2005, clashed with Ms Thornberry, who entered the Commons as the MP for Islington South & Finsbury in the same year, after it was suggested Rishi Sunak’s wife should pay her taxes.

Mr Hands said: “We have to be really careful about what we say about politicians and spouses and relatives.”

He added: “Her statement explains, if I’m not mistaken, that she is an Indian national.

“It is impossible for her to be an Indian national and a dual national.

“It is impossible, according to her statement, that she could be a British national.

“Which means, according to her statement, that she is inevitably going to be a ‘non-dom’.”

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However, Ms Thornberry could be heard muttering “no” and even shaking her head when the Tory Minister spoke in defence of the Chancellor’s spouse.

Ms Thornberry said: “This is such nonsense, honestly.

“So, you can have any passport you like.

“If you’re allowed to live in this country, you live in this country and then you make the decision, the positive decision: ‘Am I a permanent resident in this country or am I only here temporarily?’

“If you’re only here temporarily then you’re a ‘non-dom’ and then you don’t have to pay British taxes on all of your income.

“So, what we have is we have a woman living in Downing Street at the taxpayers’ expense, who has for tax reasons said that she is not a permanent resident in the UK.”

Ms Thornberry then suggested there could be a conflict of interest despite the fact Mr Sunak has reportedly declared his wife’s situation in his declaration of interest.

When asked by Mr Hands what the Chancellor’s wife should do, Ms Thornberry replied: “I think she should pay her taxes.”

Mr Hands replied: “She does.”

Mr Sunak came under fire after it was revealed his wife Akshata Murty pays £30,000 a year to maintain her non-domicile status, which she claims is required because she is an Indian citizen.

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This means she does not have to pay the exchequer tax on income from foreign investments or earnings.

However, Ms Murty, who tied the knot with the Chancellor in 2009, does pay the UK taxes on her UK income.

BBC Question Time viewers will have to wait until April 28 to watch the next instalment of the political panel show.

Ms Bruce will be joined after the Easter break by a new set of guests as the show takes to Romford in East London.

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