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Boris Johnson news – live: Ex-ethics adviser quit over PM’s ‘readiness to break law’

Lord Geidt said he was not prepared to endorse the government’s openness to breaking international law

Boris Johnson considering not replacing ethics adviser after Lord Geidt quits

Boris Johnson‘s former ethics adviser Christopher Geidt has said his resignation was prompted by the PM’s willingness to breach international law.

In a second letter to explain his shock decision to quit on Wednesday, Lord Geidt said that the details of the row over steel tariffs which finally provoked his departure were a “distraction” from his real motivation to leave his position.

He said that he walked out because he was unready to endorse the government’s openness to breaking its international obligations.

His comments suggest he may be concerned over Mr Johnson’s attempt to override the Northern Ireland Protocol in a way which will breach the Brexit treaty that he signed less than three years ago.

Meanwhile, the government has faced a backlash over reports it will not appoint a new ethics adviser after Lord Geidt’s resignation.

John Penrose, who quit as the anti-corruption tsar earlier this month over the Partygate scandal, said: “You can’t just pretend it doesn’t matter, and that there’s no job to be done.”


Ministers defend PM over Geidt resignation

Ministers have scrambled to defend Boris Johnson’s record after his ethics adviser Lord Geidt quit for being put in what he called an “impossible and odious” position.

On his news rounds on Friday, business minister Paul Scully backed his boss.

Asked by Sky News whether he believed the prime minister upholds “the highest standards required of his office”, Mr Scully replied in the affirmative. “Yeah...I can”, he said.

“In terms of the prime minister’s behaviour, he rightly wants to draw a line under the so called partygate because people are worried more about the cost of living, what it’s going to mean for their mortgages and their bills in the days and months ahead,” Mr Scully claimed.

The business minister added that it wouldn’t be necessary to replace Lord Geidt as long as there is another “mechanism” to hold those in power to the highest standards.

Rory Sullivan17 June 2022 08:00

New ethics adviser must be appointed, says former anti-corruption tsar

Boris Johnson’s former anti-corruption tsar has said the government must appoint a new ethics adviser, following the resignation of Lord Geidt.

John Penrose, the Conservative MP for Western-super-Mare, quit his own role earlier this month after accusing the prime minister of breaching the ministerial code over Partygate.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme on Friday about reports that Lord Geidt will not be replaced, he said: “You can obviously change the role a little bit, but you shouldn’t be weakening the role.

“You can’t just pretend it doesn’t matter, and that there’s no job to be done.”

Referring to Lord Geidt’s unfinished investigation into the Downing Street flat renovations, he added: “I think one of the reasons why it’s important to have some continuity, why it’s important to have if not a precise replacement then an effective succession here is to make sure that you don’t leave really quite damaging questions dangling and that anything that’s outstanding doesn’t just get forgotten and lost.”

Rory Sullivan17 June 2022 08:16

PM correct to attack lawyers over Rwanda flights, says minister

Business minister Paul Scully has defended the prime minister over an attack he made against lawyers.

Boris Johnson accused lawyers of “abetting” criminal gangs by trying to block the Home Office’s planned deportation flight to Rwanda.

“We feel that we’ve done it in a fair way and in a reasonable way, and no court as yet has ruled that Rwanda deal unlawful,” Mr Scully told Times Radio.

Aske whether he thought Mr Johnson’s comments were appropriate, Mr Scully said: “I think the net result is that if we are blocking measures to tackle the situation in the Channel, then invariably, human traffickers will continue to apply their hideous trade and push people onto small dinghies and risking their lives.”

Rory Sullivan17 June 2022 08:52

‘Big mistake’ to scrap ethics adviser role, former anti-corruption tsar warns Boris Johnson

Following on from my earlier post, here’s Rob Merrick, our deputy political editor, with more on John Penrose’s comments this morning:

‘Big mistake’ to scrap ethics adviser role, senior Tory warns PM

‘Issues about honesty and integrity don’t go away’ John Penrose warns prime minister

Rory Sullivan17 June 2022 09:16

Lynton Crosby attending PM’s morning meeting, says source

Political strategist Lynton Crosby has been attending the prime minister’s 8.30am meetings, a source has told the Guardian.

The No 10 source said the discussions were party political and did not relate to government business.

Labour hit out at what it claimed could be Mr Crosby’s “inappropriate access to high-level government decision making”.

“This stinks of yet more Tory cronyism,” Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner tweeted.

Rory Sullivan17 June 2022 09:39

PM will fail on ‘levelling up’ unless he hikes spending and devolves tax powers, Northern Tories warn

Boris Johnson’s promise to ‘level up’ the country will fail without dramatic devolution and tax cuts, Northern Tories have warned.

Jake Berry, the chair of the Conservatives’ Northern Research Group, said spending in the north should be match the higher levels seen in London.

“You can’t have radical missions without having a radical funding formula,” Mr Berry warned Mr Johnson.

Northern Tories tell PM to hike spending or fail on ‘levelling up’

Prime minister face calls for dramatic devolution at first ever Northern Research Group conference

Rory Sullivan17 June 2022 10:03

Government is ‘making mess of our economy’, says Davey

The Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey has blamed the government for making a “mess” of the economy as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite.

The comment comes shortly before next week’s by-election in Tiverton and Honerton, where the Lib Dems hope to oust the Conservatives.

Ed Davey says 'govt is making mess of our economy'
Rory Sullivan17 June 2022 10:20

Tory by-election candidate refuses to say if Boris Johnson is honest

At the local elections earlier this year, local Tories sought to distance themselves from Boris Johnson’s administration, which was embroiled in the Partygate scandal.

And now Helen Hurford, who is standing to retain the seat of Tiverton and Honiton for the Tories in next week’s by-election, has distanced herself from the prime minister.

When asked by the Guardian whether the prime minister was honest, she said: “I think Boris thinks that he is an honest person. How I conduct myself is how I conduct myself, and I think you are trying to catch me out here.”

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone reports:

Tory by-election candidate refuses to say if Boris Johnson is honest

Tiverton candidate Helen Hurford claimed question is designed to ‘catch me out’

Rory Sullivan17 June 2022 10:40

Government working with airports amid flights chaos, says minister

Business minister Paul Scully says the government is working with airports to resolve the travel chaos seen over half term.

His comments come as Gatwick Airport said it will cancel dozens of flights each day in July and August in an attempt to bring the situation under control.

Business Secretary says the government is working with airports amid flights chaos
Rory Sullivan17 June 2022 11:00

Tom Peck: Who among us is stupid enough to be Boris Johnson’s next ethics adviser?


In his latest piece, Tom Peck, our political sketch writer, takes a look at Lord Geidt’s resignation as Boris Johnson’s ethical adviser.

He writes:

It’s not exactly one of the great mysteries of the age, is it? Just why is it that Boris Johnson has now had a second ethics adviser resign on him in barely two years? The greater mystery is that he was ever able to find one, let alone lose them again.

Read more here:

Who among us is stupid enough to be Boris Johnson’s next ethics adviser? | Tom Peck

Why would anyone take the job? It only has one way of ending

Rory Sullivan17 June 2022 11:20

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