Lord Geidt reveals partygate anger and says he quit after Boris Johnson considered breaking own code

ITV News' Shehab Khan reports on the resignation that caught Westminster by surprise

Boris Johnson's former ethics advisor, Lord Geidt, has said he resigned because he was asked to consider measures that “risk a deliberate and purposeful breach of the ministerial code."

“I can have no part in this”, Lord Geidt said in a letter to the prime minister.

The ministerial interests adviser, who resigned on Wednesday, added 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.”

He 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.”

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

He said his intention was to seek Lord Geidt’s “advice on the national interest in protecting a crucial industry.”

The unspecified industry “is protected in other European countries and would suffer material harm if we do not continue to apply such tariffs”, he added.

Mr Johnson insisted the matter has previously had cross-party support and that the request would be in line with domestic law “but might be seen to conflict” with the UK’s obligations under the World Trade Organisation.

“In seeking your advice before any decision was taken, I was looking to ensure that we acted properly with due regard to the ministerial code,” Mr Johnson insisted.

An explosive exit and further damage to Boris Johnson, as Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports

Lord Geidt’s resignation on Wednesday came after he told MPs it was “reasonable” to suggest Mr Johnson broke the code by being fined by police for breaching Covid laws.

In his letter, he said he was “disappointed” that the prime minister did not give a fuller account over how paying the fixed penalty notice did not breach the code.

Lord Geidt expressed “regret” that the reference to “miscommunication” between their offices implied he “was somehow responsible for you not being fully aware of my concerns”.

“These inconsistencies and deficiencies notwithstanding, I believed that it was possible to continue credibly as independent adviser, albeit by a very small margin,” he wrote.

But he said his resignation was forced over the request relating to the TRA, the body set up to protect UK industries from unfair practices or unexpected surges in imports.

“Because of my obligation as a witness in Parliament, this is the first opportunity I have had to act on the government’s intentions. I therefore resign from this appointment with immediate effect,” the crossbench peer wrote.

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