Lord Geidt has detailed why he resigned, giving a more solid explanation of why he resigned as Boris Johnson’s ethics adviser.
In a letter to the chairman of the Select Committee on Constitutional Affairs, William Wragg, Lord Geidt said that “I could not be a part of advising on possible breaches of the law”.
He admitted that his letter of resignation could have been too cautious.
Writing to Mr. Wragg, Lord Geidt clarified that focusing on steel tariffs as a reason for his departure from others is a “distraction”.
“Since my resignation letter was made public yesterday, there has been some confusion about the exact cause of my decision,” he said.
“My letter has been interpreted to suggest that an important matter of principle was limited to a limited and technical consideration of steel tariffs.
“The prudent language of my letter may not have adequately explained the much broader scope of my objection.”
Lord Geidt continued: “The emphasis on the issue of steel tariffs is a distraction.
“It was simply an example of what could still be deliberate breaches by the United Kingdom of its obligations under international law, given the government’s widespread openness to it.”
He concluded by saying that “aware of my own obligations under the seven principles of public life (including integrity), I could not be part of the advice on any possible breach of the law.”
Lord Geidt resigned unexpectedly on Wednesday evening in a letter to the Prime Minister.
Prior to retiring, Lord Geidt had admitted earlier this week that he had considered resigning in response to Mr Johnson’s response to his fine for violating COVID-19 rules.
Explaining why he was leaving, Lord Geidt told the prime minister that he believed “by a very small margin” that it was possible to “continue credibly as an independent adviser” after the party.
In the letter, Lord Geidt said he had been asked this week to offer an insight into “measures that risk a deliberate and intentional breach of the ministerial code”.
“This request has put me in an impossible and hateful position,” he said.
“The idea that a prime minister can be in any degree in the business of deliberately violating his own code is an affront.”
Read more: Complete Letters from Lord Geidt and Boris Johnson
Image: In Lord Geidt’s letter of resignation to the Prime Minister, he said that he had been asked “to offer a view on” measures that could deliberately and intentionally violate the ministerial code “.
Lord Geidt said that even an intention to deliberately violate the ministerial code “would be to suspend the provisions of the code to suit a political purpose”.
He added: “This would make a mockery not only of respecting the code, but would also allow the suspension of its provisions to govern the conduct of His Majesty’s ministers.
“I can’t participate in this.”
Johnson said in response that the letter “was a surprise” after the councilor told him on Monday that he was happy to stay until the end of the year.
Following Lord Geidt’s departure, Johnson said he would “study carefully” if he hired a new ethics consultant.
Lord Geidt’s departure came after his predecessor Sir Alex Allan resigned in 2020. This was described by Labor as a “badge of shame” for the government.