Rishi Sunak will have imagined his 100-day anniversary differently.

If the British Prime Minister exceeds the traditional grace period this week, he can be happy to have been in office twice as long as his predecessor Liz Truss, but he does not stand for a sovereign new beginning of the Conservative government.

Even "Spectator" magazine, which is close to the Conservatives, complained in its latest issue on the front page about the "return of the Tory felt".

Jochen Buchsteiner

Political correspondent in London.

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This is all the more true for Sunak, since when he took office in October he promised "integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level" - in thinly disguised differentiation from Boris Johnson, who still shapes the image of this party, which has been in power for twelve years.

The extent to which Sunak is being pursued by Johnson's shadow is becoming apparent these days.

The focus of the recent government affair is Johnson's companion Nadhim Zahawi - and a little bit of Johnson himself.

On Sunday, Sunak was forced to relieve Zahawi of his post as "Party Chairman" - a kind of Secretary General.

Earlier, the prime minister had bought a few days by hiring the government's independent ethics adviser to investigate Zahawi's tax affairs.

When the advisor concluded that Zahawi "broke the ministerial code several times," Sunak acted swiftly.

After talking to Zahawi for about 30 minutes, he informed the public of his confinement.

Migration history instead of boarders

Zahawi, who, like many cabinet members, has considerable wealth, is accused of concealing ongoing tax investigations against him when he took office as finance minister.

During his time as Chancellor of the Exchequer (in the Johnson government), he then found an agreement with the tax authorities, which provided for an additional payment of more than five million euros - but also concealed this.

Zahawi defends himself with his "impression" that the tax authorities only "asked questions" at the time.

However, the ethics adviser concluded that Zahawi should have understood that "serious investigations" had been launched against him.

In recent years, Zahawi has become a government heavyweight.

Publicly, his reputation had risen during the pandemic as he coordinated the government's successful vaccination program.

With his history of migration – Zahawi came to the kingdom as an Iraqi refugee at the age of eleven with no knowledge of the language – he stood for the new openness of the Tories, who were often criticized as the party of English boarding school students.

Last year he even ran for the party presidency and thus for the office of prime minister.

Zahawi's fall is now exposing the rifts in the party that have only been superficially filled in since Sunak came to power.

While a section of the Conservative Party - along with the opposition - has criticized Sunak for acting much earlier, veteran Johnson supporters have accused him of not giving Zahawi a fair chance to defend himself.

A half-hour discussion for clarification was insufficient.