It is also feared that the ongoing spat over Mr Zahawi’s tax affairs, entering its 10th day, will come as a “gift” to Sir Keir Starmer during the Prime Minister’s questions on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Downing Street said Sir Laurie’s inquiry should be carried out “quickly”, but there is no timeline or date for it to be completed – meaning it could potentially take months.
Asked if Rishi Sunak is sure that Mr. Zahawi has always told him the truth about his taxes, his official spokesman said: “The investigation is looking into possible violations of the ministerial code.
“As you will know, I won’t be prescriptive about how the advice goes to establish that.”
Several former cabinet ministers have told The Telegraph that it is time for Zahawi to step down.
One described the situation as “terminal” and another said Mr Zahawi was “fatally injured” by this, adding: “Unfortunately, it looks like it will be a matter of when, not if. “
Another senior backbencher said: “It’s a gift to Labour. It just takes us back to sleazy, incredibly rich… People just laugh at the £27 million figure.
“Nadhim is so gifted and honest in the way he rules, but this undermines a lot of his good work.
But one MP who supports Mr Zahawi targeted a “witch-hunting culture” and said: “Politics is not fair, and those who want to pursue him will not give up.”