CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak failed to answer a request to give evidence to a Westminster committee for two months, before replying in the negative.

The Chancellor was formally asked to appear in front of the Treasury Committee after his Spending Review on Wednesday, but has declined to do so.

In a letter to Sunak, the committee chair, Tory MP for Central Devon Mel Stride, says the Chancellor had been asked on October 1 to appear before the committee, but it has taken him almost two months to decline.

Sunak apparently argued that it would not be appropriate for him to appear before the committee until after the next Budget, which will presumably come in the spring.

This year’s autumn Budget was cancelled, replaced by Sunak’s Winter Economy Plan and recent Spending Review.

The committee said that they “do not agree” with Sunak’s argument.

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Sunak may have also argued that it is not proper for a Chancellor to appear in front of the Treasury Committee more than twice a year, as the committee's letter argues that: “This is an especially critical time when scrutiny of Government policy is particularly vital.

“Previous chancellors have often appeared before the Treasury Committee three times a year, and in 2008 during the financial crisis the then Chancellor gave evidence to our committee on five occasions.”

Sunak has been asked to give evidence on the Spending Review, as well as the Office for Budgetary Responsibility’s Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

The committee said they hope they can meet with the Chancellor before the Christmas parliamentary recess.

There has been speculation that Sunak has deliberately avoided answering the committee for two months because he fears facing questions over Brexit.  

The Chancellor notably avoided mention of the EU/UK situation in his Spending Review, despite the fact that the transition deadline is just five weeks away and no deal is currently in place.

Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey recently told the Treasury Committee that the effect of a No-Deal Brexit "would be larger than the long-term effects of Covid".