Boris Johnson’s former ethics adviser Lord Geidt has said he quit on “an important matter of principle”.
In a letter clarifying his position, Lord Geidt said the “cautious language” of his resignation letter may have led to the conclusion that he was stepping down on “a narrow technical consideration of the steel tariff”.
However, he said it was a “distraction” and that his real concern was with the government’s “widely publicized openness” to breaking international law.
“I could not have left to advise on any potential breaches of the law,” he said in the letter obtained by Sky News.
In his letter of resignation published on Thursday, Lord Geidt said he had been placed in an ‘impossible and odious position’ after being asked to give his opinion on measures which risked ‘a willful and willful breach of the Ministerial Code’ dispute. on customs duties on imported steel.
His explanation caused bewilderment in Westminster where, when news of his resignation broke on Wednesday, it was assumed he could no longer defend the Prime Minister for breaches of lockdown rules in Downing Street and Whitehall.
However, writing to William Wragg, chairman of the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Lord Geidt pointed to comments by former cabinet secretary Lord Butler, who said the real problem was that we asked him to give “advanced cover” to the prime minister for breaking international law.
“That precisely represents my position. The focus on the steel tariff issue is a distraction,” said Lord Geidt.
“It was simply an example of what could still constitute deliberate breaches by the UK of its obligations under international law, given the government’s widely publicized openness to this.”