Rishi Sunak appoints Sir Laurie Magnus to fill ethics adviser role
The appointment will fill the role of ethics adviser to the PM, ending the vacancy after Lord Geidt quit under Boris Johnson earlier this year.
In a letter to Sir Laurie, Mr Sunak said that the role of an independent adviser played a critically “important role” in Government.
“I have sought to identify potential candidates who can demonstrate the critical qualities of integrity and independence, relevant expertise and experience, and an ability to command the trust and confidence of Ministers.
“Having discussed the role with you, I am confident that you not only demonstrate these qualities but that you will serve in the role with distinction, in the best traditions of public service.”
Mr Sunak had faced questions about the apparent delays in appointing a new ethics adviser after committing to do so in the Tory leadership contest over the summer.
Sir Laurie is the current chairman of Historic England and will take up the adviser role for a non-renewable five-year term.
With a background in financial services and various charities, he is also a former deputy chairman of the National Trust.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, he said that an “early priority” would be to scrutinise the declarations of interests by Government ministers.
“I will endeavour to discharge the important responsibilities of the role with fairness and integrity, in a manner which inspires the confidence of ministers, Parliament and the public,” he told Mr Sunak.
“I see maintaining that confidence as a critically important element of governance in this country. It is an honour to be asked to carry out the role, and a significant responsibility.”
Lord Geidt, the previous adviser on ministers’ interests, quit in June and had not been replaced when Mr Johnson announced he was standing down.
He became the second ministerial interests adviser to resign during Mr Johnson’s three years in office.
Liz Truss, during her brief tenure in Downing Street, had not appointed an ethics adviser.
The role has been vacant ever since, with some speculation about whether Downing Street had been unable to find a willing candidate due to the adviser being unable to launch investigations without the Prime Minister’s consent.
The lack of an independent adviser was highlighted early in Mr Sunak’s premiership, after the Prime Minister was forced to appoint an “independent” investigator to examine the complaints made against Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, in the absence of a permanent ministerial ethics watchdog.