Boris Johnson suffers another blow — RT World News
UK PM’s ethics adviser quits, saying government is considering ‘deliberate breach’ of cabinet code
Christopher Geidt has become the second Downing Street ethics adviser to resign in less than two years over tensions with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
In his resignation letter, published by Downing Street on Thursday, Geidt revealed that he had been asked to offer a view « on the intention of the government to consider measures that risk knowingly and deliberately violating the ministerial code.”
« This request has placed me in an impossible and odious positionsaid Geidt. He added that « the idea that a prime minister could, to any degree, be deliberately breaking his own code is an affront.”
« I can’t participate in this“, underlined Geidt.
In response to the complaints, Johnson explained that the request Geidt was outraged at was related to certain tariffs that were necessary to protect « a crucial industry. »
Media reports said the prime minister was talking about the steel industry, with Britain recently offering to extend anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese steel for five years to protect its domestic industry.
Johnson admitted that the government’s planned measures would be in line with UK national law, but « could be considered a conflict » London obligations under the World Trade Organization.
“By asking for your opinion before any decision is taken, I was trying to ensure that we acted correctly in compliance with the ministerial code. he underlined.
The government’s latest request appears to have been the final straw for Geidt rather than a sole source of tension with the prime minister. The Ethics Counselor also expressed his “frustration” on the fact that Johnson had not done « any public reference » to its role in the so-called “Partygate” – when government officials held rallies in violation of their own Covid-19 restrictions. Although Johnson later addressed his concerns, Geidt remained « disappointed« that the Prime Minister’s explanations were not »more complete.”
Geidt, who was previously private secretary to Queen Elizabeth, 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 has come under heavy criticism after reports that the initial costs of refurbishing his official Downing Street flat were covered by a Conservative Party donor.
Geidt said Johnson acted « imprudently” but, nevertheless, cleared the Prime Minister of having violated the ministerial code.
The departure of one of his closest advisers was another blow for the prime minister, who survived a no-confidence motion earlier this month. His position was already in danger following the Partygate scandal.
On Wednesday, the EU announced new legal action against the UK in response to the government’s intention to unilaterally revoke parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Another government plan – sending illegal immigrants to Rwanda – has also been harshly criticized by the opposition and various human rights groups. The first flight carrying migrants to the African country was grounded on Tuesday due to last-minute legal challenges.
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 with which she treated her staff « amounts to behavior that can be described as bullying. »
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