The scandal-plagued British government’s ethics adviser Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has resigned and accused the Conservative administration of intending to break conduct rules, just weeks after a separate report slammed him for overseeing a culture of government rule-breaking.
“With sorrow, I consider that it is appropriate that I resign from my job as Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests,” Christopher Geidt said in a short statement late Wednesday. The decision stunned Johnson’s administration, he added.
Geidt said he was put in an “impossible and odious position” because the government asked him to advise on measures that “risked a deliberate and purposeful breach of the Ministerial Code,” according to his resignation letter, which was published by the government on Thursday “that governs the actions of the government
“I can’t have any involvement in this,” he remarked, without elaborating.
In response, Johnson said the problem was tariffs applied to protect a “critical industry” that could “be viewed to contradict with our obligations.” “The World Trade Organization (WTO) regulates international trade.
According to sources, the industry is steelmaking, but the government has declined to acknowledge this due to “commercial sensitivity.” To preserve its own steel industry, the United Kingdom put anti-dumping taxes on Chinese steel, which it has proposed to prolong for another five years.
“No decisions have been taken,” said Johnson’s spokesman “Concerns about tariffs have been raised.
Johnson was dogged by claims concerning his judgment and ethics, culminating in the “party gate” incident involving parties in government offices during the UK’s coronavirus lockdowns. Geidt had persisted in his post despite the allegations. A civil servant’s report said Johnson and senior officials must bear responsibility for “failures of leadership and judgement” that created a culture of rule-breaking in government. Johnson was one of 83 people fined by police, and a civil servant’s report said Johnson and senior officials must bear responsibility for “failures of leadership and judgement” that created a culture of rule-breaking.
Geidt expressed “frustration” in his work when questioned by legislators this week, pointing out that he was selected by the prime minister and thus was not “really independent.”
Johnson, who survived a no-confidence vote by his own Conservative Party last week, has now lost his hand-picked ethics advisor. After 41% of Conservative lawmakers voted to remove him from office, he is now a weaker leader.
Johnson is still under investigation by the House of Commons Ethics Committee, which might find that he purposefully deceived parliament over “partygate,” a resigning offence in the past.
Alex Allan, Geidt’s predecessor as ethics adviser, resigned in November 2020 after the prime minister dismissed his findings that a Cabinet member had abused her employees and infringed the ministerial code of conduct – a resigning crime in most cases.
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“It could be considered a disaster for the prime minister to lose one of his ministerial advisers. “Losing two appears to be carelessness,” Conservative legislator William Wragg, a Johnson critic, said.
In his investigations, Geidt, a former private secretary to Queen Elizabeth II, was accused of leniency toward top officials. Johnson was exonerated of violating the ministerial code last year when he failed to report that a Conservative party donor had funded a costly restoration of the prime minister’s official house.
He exonerated Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak of wrongdoing in April for his wife’s tax issues and his possession of a US permanent resident card.