The UK PM’s ethics adviser has resigned, claiming the government was contemplating a “deliberate breach” of the ministerial code
Christopher Geidt was the second Downing Street Ethics Advisor to quit in under two years because of tensions with Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister.
In his resignation letter, published by Downing Street on Thursday, Geidt revealed that he had been asked to offer a view “about the government’s intention to consider measures which risk a deliberate and purposeful breach of the ministerial code.”
“This has put me in an unimaginable and dangerous position,” Geidt claimed. He added that “It is offensive to think that prime ministers might be in business of intentionally violating their own codes.”
“This is not something I could do.,” Geidt stressed.
Johnson responded to Geidt’s claims by explaining that Geidt was indignant over certain tariffs needed to protect him “a crucial industry.”
Media reports claim that the prime minister spoke about steelmaking because Britain recently offered to increase anti-dumping tariffs for Chinese steel for an additional five years in order to safeguard its domestic industry.
Johnson admitted that Johnson would consider the UK’s domestic laws for the proposed measures, but he did not deny the fact. “might be seen to conflict” with London’s obligations under the World Trade Organization.
“In seeking your advice before any decision was taken, I was looking to ensure that we acted properly with due regard to the ministerial code,”He stressed.
Geidt’s latest request to the government appears to be the final straw, rather than one source of tension between him and the prime minister. The ethics adviser also expressed his “Despondent” over the fact that Johnson had not made “any public reference” to his role in so-called ‘Partygate’ – when government officials held gatherings in violation of their own Covid-19 restrictions. Though Johnson later responded to his concerns, Geidt remained “Disappointed” that the prime minister’s explanations were not “See fuller.”
Geidt, who previously served as Queen Elizabeth’s private secretary, was in the spotlight in May last year when he published the results of his investigation into the refurbishment of the prime minister’s official residence. Johnson received heavy criticism following reports that his Downing Street official residence had seen its initial cost covered by the Conservative Party.
Geidt said that Johnson had acted “Unwisely” but, nevertheless, cleared the prime minister of violating the ministerial code.
For the prime minister who had survived an earlier motion of confidence, this was another setback. Following the Partygate scandal his position was put at serious risk.
On Wednesday, the EU announced fresh legal action against the UK in response to the government’s intention to unilaterally revoke some parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Another plan of the government – to send some illegal immigrants to Rwanda – has also been severely criticized by the opposition and various human rights groups. Due to legal problems, the first flight with migrants to Africa was grounded Tuesday.
Geidt’s predecessor as ethics adviser, Alex Allan, resigned in November 2020. The announcement came after the prime minister backed Home Secretary Priti Patel despite Allan’s conclusion that the way she was treating her staff “amounted to behavior that can be described as bullying.”
Share this story via social media