Ruth Cadbury clashes with Rishi Sunak over investment in companies linked to his wife

Image above: Ruth Cadbury MP speaking in Parliament

Ruth takes advantage of Question Time to challenge Sunak over the transparency of his financial affairs

Brentford and Isleworth MP Ruth Cadbury clashed with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs).

The Labour MP asked the Prime Minister whether he accepted that it had been “ill-judged” for him ” to fail to declare to parliament that companies linked to his wife had benefitted to the tune of two million pounds from a fund he had set up as Chancellor?”

“It is an honour to be elected to this place” she said, “and the standards to which we are expected to abide matter”.

Chiswick’s MP was referring to the Future Fund which was set up in May 2020 to help ‘innovative and high-growth British businesses’ to secure investment to help them through the Coronavirus outbreak.

The Prime Minister has come under scrutiny in recent weeks over his wife Akshata Murty’s involvement in the fund, which he set up while Chancellor. Carousel Ventures, a company part-owned by her venture capital firm, received £250,000 from the Future Fund to help fund its ownership of a luxury underwear business called Heist Studios.

Mrs Murty also has shareholdings in three businesses which received money from the fund and subsequently went into administration: Mrs Wordsmith, which was given £1.3 million; New Craftsmen, which received £250,000 and Digme Fitness, which received an unknown amount over £125,000.

None of these investments that benefited from the fund appears publicly on Sunak’s register of ministerial interests and Rishi Sunak has been criticised for the lack of transparency and the potential for a perceived conflict of interest, given he launched the scheme to help start-ups, a sector in which his wife is a known investor.

Image above: Rishi Sunak replying to Ruth Cadbury’s question in Parliament

The Prime Minister replied to Ruth by saying:

“It is worth bearing in mind that Labour Front Benchers backed the Future Fund when it was introduced—indeed, they were calling for more funding for it, not less.

“The House will be aware of my wife’s shareholdings in various British start-ups. That is her career. Those are on the record, and I am happy to put that on the record again.

“It is worth bearing in mind that the Future Fund helped more than 1,200 different companies. Neither the Government nor the British Business Bank chose any of those specific investments; it was open to any British firm that met the criteria.”

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