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Lord Geidt’s letter of resignation as ethics adviser to Boris Johnson published

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BORIS Johnson’s ethics adviser has resigned after the UK government put him in an ‘impossible and abhorrent position’, his resignation letter to the Prime Minister has revealed.

Lord Christopher Geidt has quit as Johnson’s ethics czar quit just days after saying it was reasonable to suggest the Prime Minister broke the ministerial code on anti-coronavirus parties at No 10.

He was the second person to resign from his post in two years, putting further pressure on a prime minister who has already lost the confidence of more than 40% of his own MPs.

In his letter of resignationGeidt said Johnson considered an action that might deliberately violate his own departmental code.

Geidt wrote that he had been “instructed to advise on the government’s intention to consider measures which risk a willful and willful breach of the Ministerial Code.”

In his answerthe Prime Minister said the request related to “possible future decisions related to the Trade Remedies Authority”.

The TRA is the body set up to protect UK industries against unfair practices or unexpected increases in imports.

These remedies usually take the form of additional duties on such imports, effectively making UK-made products more competitive.

The body was created following Brexit, as these measures were managed by the institutions of the European Union while the United Kingdom was in the single market.

READ MORE:Boris Johnson ‘considers scrapping role of ethics adviser’, says Downing Street

Geidt said the government’s request had put him in “an impossible and abhorrent position” and he had no choice but to resign.

The peer wrote: “The idea that a prime minister could, to any degree, be deliberately breaking his own Code is an affront. A deliberate violation, or even an intention to do so, would be to suspend the provisions of the Code to suit a political purpose.

“It would be a mockery not only of compliance with the Code, but would authorize the suspension of its provisions governing the conduct of Her Majesty’s Ministers. I cannot take part in this… I therefore resign from this appointment with immediate effect.”

Geidt also said he believed “it was possible to credibly continue as an independent adviser, albeit by a very small margin” following Johnson’s “inconsistencies and shortcomings” in relationship to the partygate scandal, which saw the prime minister fined. for breaking the Covid laws he had put in place.

READ MORE: Ministerial adviser on standards resigns as PM contradicts his Patel advice on bullying

He said Johnson had failed to address concerns about breaching the Nolan principles (on leadership, in particular) and expressed frustration that the prime minister had avoided making public statements about his own behavior and the ministerial code. .

Geidt added, “Furthermore, I regret the reference to ‘miscommunication’ between our offices, implying that I was somehow responsible for you not being fully aware of my concerns.”

Johnson’s response was published alongside Geidt’s letter.

In it, the prime minister says the resignation “came as a surprise” as the peer had agreed to stay on until the end of the year.

The National: Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at a press conference in Downing Street, London, following the release of Sue Gray's report on Downing Street parties in Whitehall during the coronavirus lockdown.  Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2022..

The Tory leader wrote: “You say you have been placed in an impossible position with regard to my seeking your advice on possible future decisions related to the Trade Remedies Authority.

“My intention was to seek your opinion on the national interest in protecting a crucial element
industry, which is protected in other European countries and would suffer
material damage if we do not continue to apply these rates.

“This has in the past enjoyed cross-party support. be taken, I was looking to make sure we were doing the right thing.
with regard to the ministerial code.

“You have carried out your duties admirably under very difficult circumstances. We have discussed the burdens that this increasingly public role imposes on you and the pressures that would be felt by anyone in your position. On behalf of the government, I would like to renew my thanks for all your hard work.”

The Prime Minister’s suggestion that the “increasingly public role” played by Geidt contributed to his decision to leave was echoed by Dominic Raab on Thursday morning.

The Justice Secretary suggested that a “fairly rough toast” given to Geidt by MPs on the standards committee might have helped in his decision.

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