UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is embroiled in a new conflict of interest controversy as Conservative minister Dominic Johnson, on a trade mission to India in April, expressed willingness to assist IT firm Infosys, owned by Sunak's wife's family, in expanding its presence in the UK. A recent investigation by the Daily Mirror unveiled Johnson's commitment to facilitating the growth of Infosys in the UK.
During a meeting at Infosys' office, Johnson, as revealed through Freedom of Information requests, provided guidance on obtaining UK visas for Infosys staff, particularly highlighting the High Potential Individual visa scheme. This scheme allows individuals to stay in the UK for two years. The discussion also delved into the potential benefits Infosys could derive from the India-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Trade experts and parliamentarians had previously raised concerns about potential financial benefits for Infosys resulting from the post-Brexit trade deal during Sunak's visit to India for the G20 summit in September. Johnson, linked to Infosys through investment in Somerset Capital, assured the company that the UK valued its relationship with Infosys and pledged continued ministerial engagement when requested.
The opposition Labour party labeled the uncovered documents as "damning," asserting that the government needed to address serious questions about providing "VIP access" to a business so closely connected to Sunak. The Liberal Democrats called for complete transparency, emphasizing the public's right to be informed about government dealings with a company closely associated with the Prime Minister.
According to the Mirror, Infosys has secured at least £66 million in public contracts since 2015, with over £46 million awarded after Sunak assumed the role of Chancellor in 2020. With offices in London, Edinburgh, and Nottingham, Infosys has a notable presence in the UK, and two of its top 10 executives are based in the country.
(With Agency Inputs)