Lord Geidt Resigns As Boris Johnson's Ethics Chief
The Prime Minister’s ethics adviser has resigned from his post in a further blow to the government as it seeks to repair the damage of partygate.
Geidt served as Boris Johnson’s Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests.
In recent weeks the peer expressed concerns about the Prime Minister’s opinion that he had not broken the ministerial code due to being handed a fixed penalty notice by the Metropolitan Police.
In a short statement published on the government’s website, Geidt said: "With regret, I feel that it is right that I am resigning from my post as Independent Adviser on Ministers' Interests."
Just yesterday at a select committee hearing the peer did not deny reports that he had threatened to resign over partygate.
He told MPs on the public administration and constitutional affairs committee (PACAC) that journalists had identified his “frustration” over the Prime Minister’s saga, but insisted that resignations were a “rather blunt” tool that he was reluctant to use.
Lord Geidt wrote to the Prime Minister in May claiming there were “legitimate questions” over whether Johnson receiving a fine meant he had breached the ministerial code, and accusing him of not promptly responding to a request for an explanation.
Responding to the correspondence, Johnson blamed a breakdown in communication and insisted that he did not believe the ministerial code had been broken.
Geidt is now the second ethics adviser appointed by the Prime Minister to resign from post.
In November 2020 Sir Alex Allan stepped down from the role after Johnson overruled his advice that Home Secretary Priti Patel had breached the ministerial code over bullying allegations.
Responding to Geidt's departure, deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said: “The Prime Minister has now driven both of his own handpicked ethics advisers to resign in despair. If even they can’t defend his conduct in office, how can anyone believe he is fit to govern?”
Rayner's sentiment was echoed by her Labour colleague and standards committee chair, Chris Bryant, who commented: “Christopher Geidt is one of the most honourable men I have ever met. In the end he was a decent man working for an indecent Prime Minister.
“He thought he could discreetly bring about incremental change but he was repeatedly lied to by No 10. In honour Johnson should resign.
“So far Johnson has ruined Allegra Stratton’s career, tarnished Christopher Geidt’s reputation and let dozens of staff take the blame for his lawbreaking. Tories must surely wake up one day?”
A government spokesman said: “We are surprised by this decision, given Lord Geidt’s commitment to the role, to the Prime Minister, and in his evidence to the House of Commons just yesterday.
“This week, the independent adviser was asked to provide advice on a commercially sensitive matter in the national interest, which has previously had cross-party support. No decision had been taken pending that advice.
“Whilst we are disappointed, we thank Lord Geidt for his public service. We will appoint a new adviser in due course.”
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe