Sunak compares wife criticism to Will Smith but says 'at least I didn't slap anybody'

Rishi Sunak drew parallels between scrutiny of his wife’s business links in Russia and Will Smith’s anger at an Oscars gag about his wife – but joked he didn’t ‘slap anybody’

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Rishi Sunak compares himself to Will Smith on Newscast

Rishi Sunak has compared himself to Will Smith over “upsetting” criticism of his wife – but joked he didn’t “slap anybody”.

The Chancellor complained that his wife Akshata Murthy was not “fair game” following scrutiny over her shares in a company operating in Russia.

He admitted he had not had “the best of weekends” following last week’s Spring Statement, which was widely criticised for not doing enough to help Brits hit by the cost of living crisis.

Mr Sunak compared himself to the Hollywood actor, who slapped comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars for making a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

Will Smith appeared to lose his temper when the comedian made a gag about his wife’s shaved head. She has previously spoken about deciding to cut her hair as she suffers from alopecia.

Speaking to the BBC’s Newscast podcast, Mr Sunak said: “Someone said, ‘Joe Root, Will Smith, and me – not the best of weekends for any of us.’

US actor Will Smith (R) slaps US actor Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars


AFP via Getty Images)

“But I feel, on reflection, both Will Smith and me having our wives attacked – at least I didn’t get up and slap anybody, which is good.”

Mr Sunak faced questions over his wife’s business affairs following the Spring Statement last week.

Ms Murthy owns a 0.91% stake in Infosys, an IT firm founded by her father NR Narayana Murthy, which has continued to operate from their Moscow office.

Her stake is currently worth £430million, while the family hold a combined £2.7bn shareholding in Infosys – an increase from £1.7billion that was last reported in 2020.

Mr Sunak told the BBC : “You know, I think it’s totally fine for people to take shots at me. It’s fair game.

“I’m the one sitting here and that’s what I signed up for.

“Actually, it’s very upsetting and, I think, wrong for people to try and come at my wife, and you know, beyond that actually, with regard to my father in law, for whom I have nothing but enormous pride and admiration for everything that he’s achieve.

Rishi Sunak unveiled his Spring Statement last week



“No amount of attempted smearing is going to make me change that because he’s wonderful and has achieved a huge amount, as I said, I’m enormously proud of him.”

The Chancellor has previously said he “followed the ministerial code to the letter” regarding his financial interests.

A Treasury spokesman told the Mirror: “The Prime Minister’s independent adviser on ministerial interests has confirmed he is completely satisfied with the Chancellor’s propriety of arrangements and that he has followed the ministerial code to the letter in his declaration of interests.”

The Ministerial Code states: “Ministers must provide their Permanent Secretary with a list, in writing, of all relevant interests known to them, which might be thought to give rise to a conflict.

“Individual declarations, and a note of any action taken in respect of individual interests, are then passed to the Cabinet Office Propriety and Ethics team and the Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests.”

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