Prime Minister urged not to deny Lewis Hamilton a knighthood over tax status

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been told it would be "totally wrong" to deny Lewis Hamilton a knighthood because his "tax status has been misunderstood".

Motorsport UK chairman David Richards and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Formula One have written to Johnson campaigning for Hamilton to be knighted in the New Year Honours.

Hamilton, who secured his record-equalling seventh world championship with a supreme victory at Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix, lives in Monaco.

But in the letters sent to Downing Street seen by the PA news agency, it is stated that Hamilton "is subject to withholding tax at source in nine countries" and "files tax returns in four of the nine countries".

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ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP, second placed Sergio Perez of Mexico and Racing Point and third placed Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari celebrate on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Murad Sezer - Pool/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates winning a 7th F1 World Drivers Championship in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel (R) congratulates Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (L) after winning the Turkish Formula One Grand Prix at the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul on November 15, 2020. (Photo by Kenan Asyali / POOL / AFP) (Photo by KENAN ASYALI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton reacts as he gets out of his car after winning the Turkish Formula One Grand Prix at the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul on November 15, 2020. (Photo by Clive Mason / POOL / AFP) (Photo by CLIVE MASON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the race and the 7th world championship after the Turkish Formula One Grand Prix at the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul on November 15, 2020. (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Nicholas Latifi of Canada driving the (6) Williams Racing FW43 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Ozan Kose - Pool/Getty Images)
Spectators watch the Turkish Formula One Grand Prix at the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul on November 15, 2020. (Photo by MURAD SEZER / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MURAD SEZER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 runs wide under pressure from George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Williams Racing FW43 Mercedes during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Turkish Air Forces aerobatic demonstration team, 'SOLOTURK' performs ahead of the Formula 1 DHL Turkish Grand Prix 2020 at Intercity Istanbul Park in Istanbul, Turkey on November 15, 2020. (Photo by Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Racing Point RP20 Mercedes stops in the Pitlane during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: People follow the Formula 1 DHL Turkish Grand Prix 2020 at Intercity Istanbul Park in Istanbul, Turkey on November 15, 2020. (Photo by Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Racing Point RP20 Mercedes leads Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Racing Point RP20 Mercedes and the rest of the field at the start during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Murad Sezer - Pool/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP looks on from the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Lewis Hamilton (44) of Mercedes competes during the Formula 1 DHL Turkish Grand Prix 2020 at Intercity Istanbul Park in Istanbul, Turkey on November 15, 2020. (Photo by Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton drives during the first practice session at the Intecity Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul on November 13, 2020 ahead of the Turksish Formula One Grand Prix. (Photo by Kenan Asyali / POOL / AFP) (Photo by KENAN ASYALI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Antonio Giovinazzi of Italy driving the (99) Alfa Romeo Racing C39 Ferrari on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Kenan Asyali-Pool/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 12: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP talks in the Drivers Press Conference during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 12, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Antonin Vincent - Pool/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Nicholas Latifi of Canada driving the (6) Williams Racing FW43 Mercedes leads Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Scuderia Ferrari SF1000 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Kenan Asyali-Pool/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB16 in the Pitlane during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) McLaren F1 Team MCL35 Renault during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 12: Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and Great Britain during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 12, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Adrian Newey, the Chief Technical Officer of Red Bull Racing talks with a Red Bull Racing team member in the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 12: Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes Team speaks to press at the paddock of the Intercity Istanbul Park ahead of Formula 1 DHL Turkish Grand Prix 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey on November 12, 2020. Teams made track walk at Intercity Istanbul Park as part of qualification lap on November 14 and the race on November 15. The Turkish Grand Prix will be held on Sunday at the Intercity Istanbul Park in Tuzla on the citys Asian side. (Photo by Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Esteban Ocon of France driving the (31) Renault Sport Formula One Team RS20 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Daniil Kvyat of Russia and Scuderia AlphaTauri prepares to drive in the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Daniil Kvyat of Russia and Scuderia AlphaTauri prepares to drive in the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari walks in the Paddock before practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Alexander Albon of Thailand and Red Bull Racing prepares to drive in the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 12: Antonio Giovinazzi (99) of Alfa Romeo drives at Turkish Grand Prix 2020 training tour, at Intercity Istanbul Park in Istanbul, Turkey on November 12, 2020. (Photo by Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 12: Lewis Hamilton (44) of Mercedes team drives at Turkish Grand Prix 2020 training tour, at Intercity Istanbul Park in Istanbul, Turkey on November 12, 2020. (Photo by Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Ozan Kose - Pool/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF1000 makes a pitstop during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 spins during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Tolga Bozoglu - Pool/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates winning a 7th F1 World Drivers Championship in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Tolga Bozoglu - Pool/Getty Images)
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It is also claimed that HMRC's UK Income Tax Liabilities Statistics, published in 2019, puts Hamilton among the top 5,000 highest tax payers in the UK.

"It would be totally wrong for the UK to deny Lewis an award befitting his historic achievements because of where he chooses to live or work or because his tax status has been misunderstood," Richards, 68, states in the letter.

"Even though Lewis is resident in Monaco (Sir Jackie Stewart was based in Switzerland for many years whilst racing along with nearly every F1 driver)."

Richards and the F1 All-Party Parliamentary Group – whose letter is signed by former Labour cabinet minister Lord Hain, and Conservative MPs' Greg Smith and James Sunderland – point to Hamilton's charitable work for the Make A Wish foundation, Save the Children and UNICEF and his push for equality and inclusivity in a sport where he remains the sole black driver.

They also highlight the Hamilton Commission, which has been established by the new seven-time world champion, to improve the representation of black people in motor sport.

Richards adds: "Throughout Lewis' journey to the top he has walked a lonely path as the only black driver in F1 and the Black Lives Matter movement has allowed him to speak candidly about his experience. He has used his voice, platform and influence to call for positive change.

"His story is a remarkable one of sheer application, dedication, sacrifice, supreme skill and determination to enter a sport where the odds were stacked immeasurably against him.

"Lewis is a global icon. A patriot of exemplary character who never misses an opportunity to drape himself in the Union Jack and to exult his proud Britishness.

"Lewis is applauded the world over for his achievements in a Formula One car and it would be entirely right for the UK to recognise his extraordinary achievements by bestowing him a Knighthood as has been the case for so many other British sportsmen of similar standing."

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister told the PA news agency: "What the PM would say is that is an absolutely fantastic achievement by Lewis Hamilton, who has entered the sporting and Formula One history books.

"Anyone who is considered for an honour undergoes a full series of checks before that's awarded. It is an independent system."

Hamilton departed the Istanbul Park circuit for Monaco with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff on Sunday night following his historic achievement.

The 35-year-old Briton is out of contract with sport's all-conquering team at the end of next month but it is anticipated that both parties will wrap up a new deal before the year is out.

Hamilton was awarded an MBE following his first championship in 2008 and has gone on to rewrite the sport's record books, drawing level with Schumacher in terms of championships, and winning more races and securing more poles and podiums than any other driver before him.

"When I think about that honour of being knighted, I think about people like my grandad who served in the war," said Hamilton on the potential accolade.

"Captain Tom waited 100 years for that great honour, and then you have these doctors and nurses, who are saving lives during this hardest time ever.

"I think about those unsung heroes and I don't look at myself as an unsung hero. I haven't saved anybody. It is an incredible honour that a small number of people have bestowed on them."

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