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Thu, 25 July 2024

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By Tobias Ellwood
By Ben Guerin
Press releases

Rishi Sunak Has Finally Appointed A New Independent Ethics Adviser

Rishi Sunak has promised a government of “integrity, professionalism and accountability” (Alamy)

2 min read

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has appointed a new independent adviser on ministerial interests, after months of delay in filling the role.

Sir Laurie Magnus CBE has accepted the role, having worked with ministers and government officials as chairman of Historic England. 

The adviser role has been vacant since Lord Christopher Geidt, resigned in June over a disagreement with then-prime minister Boris Johnson

When Sunak became Prime Minister in October, he promised a government of “integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level”, to which the role would be integral.

But in light of a lengthy delay in finding someone, a senior Conservative MP recently admitted “there's a bit of poison in the well” after the end of Geidt’s tenure, making it difficult for Sunak to hire someone new.

In his letter confirming the appointment of Magnus, Sunak said: “I have made it a priority to appoint an Independent Adviser, to help ensure that these standards are upheld, and that the British public can have confidence in the Government's commitment to the Seven Principles of Public Life.

“Ministers do their jobs knowing it is an incredible privilege to serve. As my Independent Adviser, I know that your advice and counsel will help every member of the Government to honour this privilege.”

In his acceptance letter, Magnus said he sees the role as a “critically important element of governance in this country”. 

He will provide an annual report to the Prime Minister in May 2023 and has set out an early priority of scrutinising the declarations of interests that have been made by ministers appointed by Sunak. 

Recent polling by UCL Constitution Unit shows the public wants to empower independent regulators to have the ability to launch investigations into ministerial failures.

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