- Boris Johnson’s ethics chief has quit, saying he would “have no part” in the “mockery” of standards.
- Lord Geidt resigned Wednesday evening following a grilling by MPs as to the point of his role.
- Geidt said he quit because he was asked to offer advice on a “deliberate” breach of the ministerial code.
Boris Johnson’s ethics adviser resigned saying he would “have no part” in a Government policy that he said would “make a mockery” of standards.
Lord Geidt said he had been put in an “impossible and odious position” by being asked to offer advice on a “deliberate and purposeful breach” of the ministerial code, according to his resignation letter published Thursday morning.
He quit on Wednesday evening, after little over 13 months as Johnson’s independent adviser on ministers’ interests.
In his letter, Geidt said he was asked to “offer a view” about the government’s intentions to “consider measures which risk a deliberate and purposeful breach of the ministerial code.”
This would “make a mockery not only of respect for the Code but licence the suspensions of its provisions in governing the conduct of Her Majesty’s Ministers,” he added.
“I can have no part in this,” Geidt, a former private secretary to the Queen said.
Although Geidt did not spell out what this was, Johnson’s reply revealed that this related to “potential future decisions related to the Trade Remedies Authority” as the Government considered protecting “a crucial industry”.
Geidt appeared in front of a committee of MPs on Tuesday, where he was accused of being little more than a “tin of whitewash” and asked what the point of his role was.
Geidt was also asked why it was that he had received an increase in requests to adjudicate ethical issues in Johnson’s Government.
Geidt said he had been “frustrated” with the partygate affair and Johnson’s failure to publicly state how the fixed penalty notice he received was compatible with the requirements of the ministerial code. He said resignation was “always on the agenda” as a “blunt” tool for an independent adviser.
A Downing Street source told the BBC that Geidt had spoken to Johnson on Monday and asked to continue in the role for six months. The source told the BBC that Geidt’s resignation had come as a “total surprise and a mystery” to Johnson.
Among Geidt’s outstanding investigations is an inquiry into an allegation by former minister Nus Ghani that she was sacked because of her “Muslimness”.