Sir Laurie Magnus, the chairman of Historic England, has been appointed as Rishi Sunak’s new ethics adviser, Downing Street has said.
The prime minister was under pressure to fill the role after promising to bring “integrity, professionalism and accountability” to government when he entered Downing Street.
The role – officially known as the adviser on ministers’ interests – has been vacant since Lord Geidt quit under former PM Boris Johnson in June.
Sir Laurie will be responsible for advising Mr Sunak on whether government ministers are complying within their code of conduct.
However the prime minister is the arbiter of the code and the ultimate judge of the standards of behavior expected of a minister.
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,” he said.
Responding, Sir Laurie said: “I am pleased to accept the appointment. I will endeavor 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.”
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 chair of Historic England and will take up the adviser role for a non-renewable five-year term.