The Prime Minister’s ethics watchdog will be allowed to start his own investigations, Sir Keir Starmer has said, in a break from the Conservative party’s time in Government.

Sir Laurie Magnus, who spent his career in corporate finance and who chairs Historic England, replaced Lord Geidt, who resigned as the independent adviser on ministers’ interests under Boris Johnson, in 2022.

The role had been criticised because Magnus had not been allowed to start his own investigations into potential wrongdoing.

However, Starmer told reporters including a representative from GB News on a flight to Washington DC for a Nato summit that he had told Magnus he can launch his own probes into areas of concern.

Keir Starmer addresses jounalistsStarmer’s ethics adviser will be allowed to start own investigations unlike under ToriesPA

Starmer met Magnus on his first day as Prime Minister on Friday last week.

He said: “I did see Laurie on day one in Government to have a discussion with him about standards and the enforcement of standards.

“I do intend him to have an ability to investigate.

“You’ll have to forgive me, because I’m not quite sure whether that requires a formal change to the rules or not but the intention is clear, whatever the technical way of doing it is, we’ll find a way to do it.

“I was really clear with the Cabinet that standards apply, matters apply.

“I made it clear [in] the ministerial code, they will be receiving a copy of it, and it will have the Nolan principles inside and alongside it.

“That is the standards I expect of them. As I’ve said throughout, people falling short of the required standards will face consequences, as you would expect.”