BORDERS MP John Lamont has backed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak decision to order an ethics inquiry into the tax affairs of his colleague Nadhim Zahawi.

But he resisted calling for the Conservative party chairman to stand down whilst the investigation took place.

Mr Zahawi has faced growing calls to quit after paying a penalty to resolve a multi million-pound tax dispute.

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And Mr Sunak has asked new ethics adviser Laurie Magnus to assess whether the former chancellor breached the ministerial code with the HMRC settlement.

This morning, Caroline Nokes, chairwoman of the Commons Women and Equalities Committee, told BBC Breakfast Mr Zahawi should “stand aside until this matter is all cleared up”.

However the Prime Minister said it is “longstanding practice” for ministers being investigated to remain in post.

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Mr Lamont said: "The Prime Minister has rightly ordered the independent ethics adviser to hold an investigation into this matter. He will report back soon after establishing all the facts."

Downing Street officials said this morning that there was no timeline or date for when the ethics investigation should be completed, but that the probe should be carried out “swiftly”.

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Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy told Sky News: “When you’ve been chancellor of the exchequer and you said you’ve been careless despite the fact that offshore trusts have been set up in Gibraltar, I’m sorry, you really ought to resign or be sacked.”

Mr Zahawi, in a statement on Monday, said he is “confident” he has “acted properly throughout”.