Boris Johnson risked deliberate breach of ministerial code, says ethics adviser

The warning was issued in Lord Geidt’s letter of resignation.

16 June 2022

Boris Johnson considered action risking a deliberate breach of his own ministerial code, Lord Geidt said as he quit as ethics adviser over the “impossible and odious” position.

The ministerial interests adviser said in his resignation letter to the Prime Minister that he had been only credibly clinging onto the role “by a very small margin” over partygate.

But Lord Geidt said he was forced to quit when he was tasked with offering a view on the Government’s “intention to consider measures which risk a deliberate and purposeful breach of the ministerial code”.

The Prime Minister’s response indicated that it was relating to advice on the Trade Remedies Authority.

In the letter published on Thursday, Lord Geidt wrote: “This request has placed me in an impossible and odious position.”

He said the idea that the Prime Minister “might to any degree be in the business of deliberately breaching his own code is an affront”.

“A deliberate breach, or even an intention to do so, would be to suspend the provisions of the code to suit a political end. 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.”

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