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AAll was quiet on Friday outside the £1.5million North Yorkshire mansion the Sunaks sometimes call home – except for builders who were hounding the swimming pool being built in the paddock at the family lakeside.

One of the workers said he had never met their clients, but was aware of the tax arrangements of Akshata Murty, better known locally as Ms Sunak. Was he embarrassed? He shrugged. “That’s what they do.” WHO? “Rich people. They don’t pay taxes and poor people do.

A few miles away, in Northallerton, the largest town in Sunak’s Richmond constituency, some staunch Tory voters felt genuine anger at Murty’s no-dom status.

‘That’s what they do’: Voters in Sunak’s Yorkshire seat react to his wife’s tax status |  Akshata Murti
Carole Gates: “It hurts me and it changes my opinion of Rishi.” Photograph: Christopher Owens/The Guardian

“It’s important,” said Carole Gates, 79, “if they [the Sunaks] are both UK residents, they should pay all their taxes here.

“It hurts me and it changes my opinion of Rishi. I thought he was doing his best and doing a good job, but he has dropped in my esteem a lot.

She wasn’t sure if she could vote for him again. But where to go instead? She wrinkled her nose at Keir Starmer’s Labor Party suggestion.

Others had already fallen in love with Sunak before the latest revelations. Hotel housekeeper Jade Green, 27, accused Sunak of having no idea what life was like for ordinary people.

Sunak’s decision to lend £200 to struggling households to help them cope with soaring energy bills had particularly gone down.

“I’ve worked really hard to get myself out of debt and I feel like it will bring me back again,” she said. “The cost of everything is rising. It costs me £30 a week to drive to work – that’s three hours’ pay for me. Sunak has no idea.

Although she works, Green relies on Universal Credit to pay most of her rent, and the government housing allowance is too meager to cover most properties in Northallerton, she complains.

‘That’s what they do’: Voters in Sunak’s Yorkshire seat react to his wife’s tax status |  Akshata Murti
Jade Green: ‘It’s costing me £30 a week to drive to work now… Sunak has no idea.’ Photograph: Christopher Owens/The Guardian

The wider constituency is one of the wealthiest in the North of England, ranked 450 out of 533 on the Multiple Deprivation Index.

Outside Betty’s tea room, Ronnie Wood (“not that one”), said he was done with the Tories. Murty’s non-dom status is “just another skeleton out of the closet,” the 61-year-old said.

He was skeptical whether it would change anything – “I find it disappointing how complacent the general public is, how accepting people are. I think we should expect more from our MPs.

But personally, he no longer voted for the Conservatives, because of Boris Johnson, not Sunak: “I don’t believe a word he says.”

Gary Scaife, a retired double-glazed fitter enjoying an alfresco pint with his wife, Julie, believed Sunak’s political career was not yet dead.

“I still think he’s a good boy. I think he’ll still be the next prime minister whenever Boris Johnson leaves, but I won’t be voting for him again,” he said. Why? taxes. Everything goes up. My van used to cost £155 a year to pay – I’ve just renewed it and it’s £275.”

Despite widespread anger in the constituency, no one seemed to think Sunak was in danger of losing the seat he had held since 2015, when he succeeded William Hague.

‘That’s what they do’: Voters in Sunak’s Yorkshire seat react to his wife’s tax status |  Akshata Murti
Gary and Julie Scaife: “I still think he’s a good boy,” Gary says. Photograph: Christopher Owens/The Guardian

It won a majority of 27,210 votes in 2019, with Labor coming a distant second. Some defended him on the basis that Murty had done nothing illegal.

And as one woman put it: “At the end of the day, he fed and watered everyone and put a roof over everyone’s head during the lockdowns, and their taxes are their business and nobody else’s.” ‘other.”

Sunak remains popular with many local business owners, even in pubs where the abstinent chancellor never orders a pint.

Deba Crow-Clark, the owner of the Tickle Toby Inn, said Sunak helped her personally: “He was always supportive for us, and also for my sister, who runs an ice cream parlor on the other side. of the road.

“She is actually friends with him. They go to a step class together at the local rec center. He goes there on a Sunday with his security guards.

She didn’t know much about tax issues – “But who likes paying taxes? I know I don’t want to pay inheritance tax, for example, so who am I to criticize? But I have nothing bad to say about Rishi or his wife.

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