NICOLA Sturgeon has called on Rishi Sunak to remove Nadhim Zahawi from his ministerial position. 

The Prime Minister has referred Zahawi to his independent ethics adviser due to concerns relating to his tax affairs. 

It is estimated that Zahawi – who now serves as chairman of the Conservative Party as well as a Cabinet Office minister – paid a penalty as part of a settlement with HMRC worth nearly £5 million while serving as Chancellor. 

The fine related to shares in the polling company YouGov, which were being held in an offshore trust and went undetected by tax authorities. 

Now, the First Minister has said that Zahawi's position is "untenable" and called on Rishi Sunak to fire him.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak orders ethics investigation on Zahawi's tax affairs

She said: “I know what the Prime Minister has said, which seems to me be more about kicking it into the long grass rather than addressing it.

“I think his position, the former chancellor’s position, is untenable. I think he should resign his current position as chair of the Conservative Party.

“It seems to be the case that while he was chancellor he settled a seven-figure tax bill with HMRC, which included a very significant penalty.

“Now that means, as far as I can see, that there must have been something untoward about his tax affairs to a very large tune in terms of the amount of money involved.

"I think the Prime Minister should remove him from office”

Sturgeon's comments come as a fresh poll from YouGov found that the majority of the UK public (51%) think he should resign over the scandal.

In a snap survey of 2387 Brits, just 12% backed Zahawi remaining in post.

The Scottish Greens also called for Zahawi to be fired from government. 

Maggie Chapman MSP said: “What message would it send if Nadhim Zahawi is allowed to stay on as Tory Chair? 

“We know that he has had to pay a big penalty to HMRC over his taxes. Putting it to a review is not good enough ... Every time we think the Tory Party has hit rock bottom they manage to sink to a new low.

"Zahawi must be sacked, but we must also see an end to the culture in Westminster that has allowed this kind of sleaze to run rampant for so long.

“There is surely no way that any government with a shred of credibility would allow him to continue in this role or any other. Every day that he is allowed to stay as chair tells us as much about the Party as it does about him."

The former chancellor has said he will cooperate with the ethics investigation.