AND so, finally, Rishi Sunak has acted and called on his new ethics adviser to shine the Whitehall torch onto Nadhim Zahawi’s tax affairs. Step forward Sir Laurie Magnus for his first major mission.

The 67-year-old Old Etonian investment banker will judge whether or not the Conservative Chairman broke the ministerial code in his multi-million pound settlement with HM Revenue and Customs.

The Prime Minister has made clear Zahawi, who is defying Labour demands for his resignation, will remain in his Cabinet post during the inquiry.

Downing St stressed the Stratford upon Avon MP “retains the Prime Minister’s confidence; that’s why he continues in the role as is standard practice,” it said. There is no timeline for the investigation to be finished and Number 10 acknowledged it would be up to Sunak if he wanted to disagree with its conclusions, noting: “The PM remains the final arbiter of the code.”

READ MORE: Settle on Sunday: Gaffe-prone Rishi better hope his sniping Tory colleagues belt up

Last week at PMQs, Sunak told Sir Keir Starmer that Zahawi had already addressed the tax affairs matter “in full and there’s nothing more I can add”. But Downing Street today suggested the PM was at that time not aware his Cabinet colleague had paid a penalty to settle his tax dispute with HMRC.

Underlining how this was all a large political gift to the Labour leader, Starmer said: “This is a test of the Prime Minister. He promised us – his first words – integrity and accountability. Well, if those words mean anything, the Prime Minister should sack him, and sack him today and show some leadership.”

He added: “Because if he doesn’t, it’s just going to be further evidence for the British public as to just how weak this Prime Minister really is.”

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