Lord Geidt 'wanted to be seen' in dramatic departure
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Lord Christopher Geidt announced his resignation from the role of Independent Advisor on Ministers’ Interests in a dramatic turn of events on Wednesday evening. The senior advisor made the shocking decision as the Conservative party fallout concerning matters of Partygate breaches of lockdown had begun to settle. Boris Johnson is expected to face renewed backlash surrounding the resignation of Lord Geidt as the Prime Minister had hoped to cement his leadership. In his analysis of the recent Westmister events, GB News political correspondent Tom Harwood said: “If Lord Geidt had wanted to be seen to resign over Partygate, he had plenty of opportunities to do it over the last six months.”
He continued: “The reason why he didn’t? Well, I suppose that is open to interpretation.
“However, the reason that he gave for resigning is he says the Prime Minister asked him to advise over a matter that the Prime Minister knew would breach the Ministerial Code.
“The former ethics advisor of the Prime Minister says that knowingly breaching the Ministerial Code is a step too far, is why he is resigning over this issue.”
In a brief statement addressing the immediate news of his resignation, Lord Geidt said: “With regret, I feel that it is right that I am resigning from my post as Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests.”
In his letter of official resignation, Lord Geidt has expanded on concerning events within Downing Street that he felt forced him to resign from his position.
The former advisor suggested the Prime Minister’s lack of acknowledgement surrounding the impact of the Partygate breaches in reflection of the Ministerial Code had become an issue.
In the letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Lord Geidt said: “Your letter in response to my Annual Report was welcome. It addressed the absence of comment by you about your obligations under the Ministerial Code up until that point.
“You explained that, by paying a fixed term penalty, you had not breached the Ministerial Code.
“The letter did not, however, address specifically the criticism in Sue Gray’s report about your adherence to the Nolan Principles (on leadership, in particular).”
Read more: ‘Partygate is effectively over’: Lord Geidt ‘embarrassing’ Johnson
He continued: “Neither did the letter make mention that, despite being repeatedly questioned in the House of Commons about your obligations under the Ministerial Code (after paying a fixed penalty notice), your responses again made no reference to it.”
Lord Geidt clearly appeared frustrated that the Prime Minister had not fully addressed his involvement in the Partygate scandal in relation to the standards outlined by the Ministerial Code.
This had evidently created substantial strain between the advisor and the Prime Minister, although Lord Geidt explained the specific event that prompted his resignation related to a discussion surrounding further breaches to the Ministerial Code.
His resignation letter read: “I was tasked to offer a view about the Government’s intention to consider measures which risk a deliberate and purposeful breach of the Ministerial Code.”
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The letter continued: ““This request has placed me in an impossible and odious position.”
The former advisor suggested a deliberate breach of the code would “suspend” the standards of conduct members of Government are expected to follow in order to “suit a political end.”
Lord Geidt added: “This would make a mockery not only of respect for the Code but licence the suspension of its provisions in governing the conduct of Her Majesty’s Ministers.
“I can have no part in this.”
A letter from the Prime Minister to Lord Geidt in response to his resignation said: “When we spoke on Monday, you said that you were content to remain until the end of the year. So your letter came as a surprise.”
Mr Johnson clarified the issue raised by Lord Geidt as he said: “I was looking to ensure that we acted properly with due regard to the Ministerial Code.”
Mr Harwood added: “Downing Street say they were asking Lord Geidt whether or not an action to protect what we understand to be the British steel industry, would be in breach of the ministerial code.”
“It’s very odd that Lord Geidt has picked this issue as the one he will resign over.”
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