ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston believes Boris Johnson got off very lightly. He explains his thoughts.
The more I reflect on the exchange of letters between Lord Geidt and Boris Johnson the stranger it seems.
In his decision not to resign, Geidt is relying on his original curious judgement that it is OK for the PM’s lifestyle to be funded by the Tory Party and Brownlow, and that the question of when and whether Johnson knew where the money was coming from, and when and whether Johnson disclosed it in the register of ministerial interests, is a second order one.
But if that is really so, why not privatise all of a PM’s salary and living costs to Tory donors?
Geidt seems to be suggesting that the privatisation of Downing Street would be acceptable - and that the convoluted steps Johnson subsequently took to repay Brownlow and the Tory Party with a personal loan were unnecessary (poor Johnson!).
And if Geidt doesn’t think all that, then he should have properly and formally reopened the inquiry - which he didn’t - and taken new detailed evidence from Brownlow, Lytle and the Tory Party.
Or he should have resigned when he found out he didn’t have all the material evidence.
Geidt admits the PM has undermined the reputation and authority of his role as the guardian and enforcer of ministerial standards, that he has by implication humiliated him, and yet he has let Johnson off with a slap on the wrists.