Rishi Sunak slammed for appointing old-Etonian banker and Tory donor as new ethics adviser

“The social distance between us - an old Etonian, in 21st century?"

Laurie Magnus

The Prime Minister has been condemned for appointing an old-Etonian and banker as his new ethics adviser, after a six-month delay in filling the post.

Sir Laurie Magnus, the chair of Historic England, takes on the role following the departure of Christopher Geidt, who resigned under Boris Johnson.

Lord Geidt stepped down over proposals to break international law on trade policy but was known to be unhappy about Johnson’s role in lockdown-breaching No 10 parties.

Sunak promised to govern with integrity and professionalism after a series of scandals involving the Tory party, including lockdown breaking parties, cronyism with Covid contracts, and allegations of bullying and sexual misconduct levelled at a number of Tory MPs.

Yet the prime minister’s choice of appointment for ethics adviser has proved controversial. Sir Magnus was not given his title by the Queen, his title is hereditary.

Sky news reports: “Mr Sunak has turned to a former merchant banker who serves on half a dozen quangos and whose long business career involved links with disgraced retail tycoon Sir Philip Green and the late tycoon Robert Maxwell.”

House of Commons records also show that Magnus gave the Conservative MP Nick Boles £3,000 in December 2017 to support researching and writing a book.

Crucially, Sir Magnus will not be able to launch his own investigations, meaning that he will be unable to launch his own inquiry into the conduct of Dominic Raab who faces bullying allegations or into Home Secretary Suella Braverman who is accused of ignoring legal advice.

Reacting to the news of Sir Magnus to the role, Green Party peer Natalie Bennett tweeted: “Rishi Sunak has appointed an Old Etonian investment banker as his ethics adviser.”

“Well, of course.  Irony is dead”

Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts tweeted: “The social distance between us – an old Etonian, in 21st century?

“They really don’t get it, do they?”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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