British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s second ethics adviser, Lord Geidt, resigned on Wednesday without explanation. He was known to be unhappy with the Prime Minister’s handling of Partygate and had suggested he may have breached the ministerial code.
Johnson survived a confidence vote last week that saw 41% of his lawmakers vote against his leadership after months of scandals and gaffes that raised questions about his authority to govern and undermined his standing with the public.
Christopher Geidt, the independent adviser for ministers’ interests, said last month that Johnson had to explain why he believed he had not breached the ministerial code after being fined for attending a party during the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.
“With regret, I feel it is right that I resign from my post,” Geidt said in a statement posted on the government’s website.
Geidt, whose role was to advise Johnson on matters relating to the ministerial code of conduct, did not give a reason for his resignation. The government said it was surprised by Geidt’s decision.
“Although we are disappointed, we thank Lord Geidt for his public service. We will appoint a new adviser in due course,” a government spokesman said.
Geidt, the Queen’s private secretary for 10 years until 2017, was appointed by Johnson in April 2021. The former post holder resigned in 2020 to protest Johnson’s support for a minister who has proven to have breaks the code.
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“The Prime Minister has now pushed his two hand-picked ethics advisers to resign in desperation. If even they cannot defend his conduct in office, how can anyone believe he is fit to govern?” Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Labor Party.
Geidt called last year for his role to have more authority and independence, but when the government updated the ministerial code last month, he said that while he could now open an investigation, he would was always required to consult the Prime Minister.
He had also previously criticized the fact that an exchange of messages had not been disclosed to him during the investigation which had funded an expensive renovation of Johnson’s flat in Downing Street.
(with agency contributions)
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