Who is Lord Geidt? What report said about Boris Johnson and ministerial code, was partygate fine a breach?

The Prime Minister responded by claiming that the fine he received for breaking lockdown rules “did not breach” the code

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Boris Johnson’s own ethics adviser said there was a “legitimate question” over whether the Prime Minister had breached the Ministerial Code after receiving a partygate fine.

In a letter later released on Tuesday (31 May), the Prime Minister responded by claiming that the fixed penalty notice (FPN) he received for breaking lockdown rules “did not breach” the code as there was “no intent to break the law”.

It came on a bruising day for Mr Johnson, as more Tory MPs called for his resignation with the prospect of a leadership challenge now looming.

Here we take a look at who Lord Geidt is, what he said in his report and Boris Johnson’s response.

What did Lord Geidt’s report say?

Lord Geidt suggested that the FPN received by the Prime Minister may have breached the Ministerial Code.

There was a “legitimate question” over whether the fine - which the Prime Minister received for attending a birthday party thrown in his honour in June 2020 - might have been a breach of the “overarching duty within the Ministerial Code of complying with the law”.

He also questioned Mr Johnson’s willingness to “take responsibility for his own conduct” in relation to the ministerial rules.

Lord Geidt also advised Downing Street officials that the Prime Minister should be “ready to offer public comment” on his obligations under the code.

He added that this had “not been heeded”.

There had also been speculation that Lord Geidt was considering his position over the handling of the issue.

However, the Cabinet Office denied this and insisted that he is not quitting.

The ethics adviser did appear to hint about this in his annual report when he noted that he had attempted to avoid offering advice to Mr Johnson about his obligations under his own Ministerial Code.

He added: “If a Prime Minister’s judgement is that there is nothing to investigate or no case to answer, he would be bound to reject any such advice, thus forcing the resignation of the independent adviser.

“Such a circular process could only risk placing the Ministerial Code in a place of ridicule.”

What did Boris Johnson say?

Mr Johnson said in a letter that the fine he had received “did not breach” the Ministerial Code”.

He insisted that he had taken “full responsibility for everything that took place on my watch” in relation to the partygate scandal.

The Prime Minister pointed to his apology in the House of Commons.

Who is Lord Geidt?

Lord Geidt is the independent adviser on the Ministerial Code.

In his earlier career, he was an army intelligence officer and diplomat.

He served at the height of the Bosnian war and was the private secretary to Carl Bildt, the UN secretary general’s special envoy to the Balkans.

From 2007 until 2017, he served as the Queen’s Private Secretary before joining the House of Lords as a crossbench peer.

He was later appointed by Boris Johnson as his independent adviser on the Ministerial Code, replacing Sir Alex Allan who resigned after the Prime Minister overruled him over a report into allegations of bullying by Priti Patel.