Lord Geidt: Boris Johnson’s ethics adviser resigns

Boris Johnson's ethics adviser quits a day after revealing Partygate's'frustration'

Lord Geidt told the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee he was “frustrated” by the Partygate scandal (Image: PA/Getty)

Boris Johnson’s ethics adviser has resigned after expressing his “frustration” over the Partygate scandal.

Lord Geidt, whose official position is the Prime Minister’s independent adviser on ministerial interests, announced his resignation on Wednesday evening.

The peer said in a statement: “It is with regret that I see fit that I resign from my post as independent adviser on the interests of ministers.”

Just a day earlier he refused to deny to MPs that he had considered quitting over Mr Johnson’s response to a fine for breaking lockdown rules.

Lord Geidt told the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee he was “frustrated” by the Partygate scandal.

“I’m glad the Prime Minister was able to respond to my report while raising aspects of things I was clearly frustrated about,” he told the committee.

“Resignation is one of the more blunt but few means available to the counselor. I’m glad my frustrations were addressed the way they were.’

Lord Geidt announced his resignation on Wednesday night (Image: PA)

It was reported that last month, following the publication of Sue Gray’s report on lockdown violations in Whitehall, Lord Geidt threatened to resign unless Mr Johnson made a public statement about his behaviour.

In response, the Prime Minister issued a letter to Lord Geidt saying he believed any breach of Covid laws when he attended a Cabinet Room gathering for his 56th birthday had been “unknowingly”.

He insisted he was acting in “good faith” when telling Parliament there had been no parties.

On Tuesday, Lord Geidt, a former private secretary to the Queen, accepted that it was “reasonable” to assume that the Prime Minister may have breached the Ministerial Code by being handed a penal warrant by the Metropolitan Police.

However, he indicated that he would not launch an investigation into Mr Johnson, although he has since been given greater powers to launch his own investigations.

Describing himself as the “Prime Minister’s fortune as Minister to the Crown” rather than a “free-orbit advisor”, he still required Mr Johnson’s final approval before launching an inquiry.

Lord Geidt is the second to step down as Mr Johnson’s ethics adviser (Image: Reuters)

Lord Geidt is the second person to step down as Mr Johnson’s ethics adviser during his less than three years as Prime Minister.

Sir Alex Allan resigned in 2020 after Mr Johnson refused to accept his finding that Home Secretary Priti Patel had been bullying officials.

The Prime Minister is said to have been completely surprised by the resignation.

A senior source in No 10 told the PA news agency: “We are surprised, this is a mystery to the Prime Minister. Only on Monday did he say he wanted to stay six months.’

Labor again called on him to resign.

Deputy union leader Angela Rayner said: “The Prime Minister has now urged his two hand-picked ethics advisers to desperately resign.

“If even they cannot defend his conduct in office, how can anyone believe he is fit to govern?

“Nevertheless, he remains in office, backed by a Conservative Party mired in quagmire and utterly unable to deal with the cost of living crisis facing the British people.

“The person who should be leaving No 10 tonight is Boris Johnson himself. How long will the country have to wait before Tory MPs finally do the right thing?

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Justin Scacco

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