Politics Explained

Boris Johnson has played Lord Geidt for a fool and left him in a difficult position

The independent adviser on ministerial conduct can’t seem to get the measure of his Downing Street boss, writes Sean O'Grady

<p>Johnson appears to have had literally no time for his adviser</p>

Johnson appears to have had literally no time for his adviser

Lord (Christopher) Geidt is unusual in having had both the Queen and the prime minister for a boss.

He served as private secretary to her majesty for 10 years until 2017. It was, by all accounts, a warm and easy working relationship, and marked by good grace, as might be expected. Since April 2021, Geidt has been Boris Johnson’s independent adviser on ministerial conduct. I believe it is safe to conclude that this has not been a warm and easy working relationship marked by good grace.

One of the most surprising revelations in Geidt’s annual review of his work was that he hasn’t met the prime minister to discuss the protracted period of lawlessness in Downing Street commonly known as Partygate. Unlike the Queen, Johnson appears to have had literally no time for his adviser. Apparently there was a “failure of communication between our offices” according to Johnson, who adds that he was unaware of the of the importance Geidt had placed on him making explicit reference to the ministerial code over the Partygate fixed penalty notice.

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