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Entire government in breach of ministerial code after failure to appoint ethics adviser

The whole government is now in breach of the Ministerial code after the Prime Minister failed to appoint an independent ethics adviser within six months of the post becoming vacant.

Since Lord Christopher Geidt resigned as the Prime Minister’s Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests on 15th June, the office of the Prime Minister has had no independent ethics adviser. Now, as over six months have passed since the Cabinet Ministers declared their interests to the last ethics adviser, the entire government is technically in breach of the ministerial code.

The revelations from Open Democracy highlight that the ministerial code requires the whole Cabinet to publicly disclose their interests twice yearly. However, as this process must be overseen by an independent ethics adviser, this has not taken place since May. 

Two Prime Ministers have resigned in disgrace since Geidt’s departure and since Sunak took charge, his government has been beset by scandals.

The current Home Secretary is serving her second stint on the job after she resigned due to a breach in the ministerial code under Liz Truss in October. Since Suella Braverman’s reinstallment as Home Secretary, new concerns about security breaches in her office have been raised, dating back to her time as Attorney General.

Rishi Sunak’s cabinet has already seen Chief Whip Gavin Williamson stand down after an investigation was launched into allegations of bullying. The Deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab, is currently the subject of a similar probe.

Sunak pledged to swiftly reappoint an ethics adviser during the summer’s leadership contest, and a spokesperson from his office claimed over a month ago that an appointment would be “done shortly.” He has made over 100 appointments since taking office.

Best for Britain recently launched a new campaign to find a new ethics advisor for the Prime Minister.

Naomi Smith, Chief Executive of Best for Britain, said:

“It is clear the Prime Minister has no intention of living up to his promise of integrity, professionalism, and accountability.

“Now that the entire government is officially in breach of the rules, it is long overdue that they no longer mark their own homework when it comes to standards. Sunak should appoint a new ethics adviser immediately.”