Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The Prime Minister’s dirt adviser expects more authority after the Flatgate series

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Boris Johnson’s ethics adviser said he expected the prime minister’s home renovation dispute to give him “significantly more” authority, independence and power.

The comments came in response to a letter from a parliamentary oversight committee asking Christopher Geidt whether he thought he should be allowed to initiate his own investigations into allegations of ministerial misconduct.

Lord Geidt’s answer seems to suggest that he is pushing for that power. He can currently propose an investigation but can only proceed at the request of the Prime Minister.

Mr Johnson apologized last week after it was revealed he had failed to provide Geidt with details of all his communications with the Tory donor who funded the £ 142,000 renovation of his apartment above 11 Downing Street.

In a letter to the House of Commons Public Administration Committee released today, the peer said the incident showed that the government provided “insufficient care” for him in his role as an independent advisor.

He told the chairman of the committee, Tory MP William Wragg, “The episode has shaken my confidence precisely because potential and real procedural errors have occurred in more than one section of the government apparatus.

“In my opinion, these failures were not due to a lack of investigative powers, but rather showed insufficient care for the role of the independent advisor.”

In a letter to Lord Geidt last month to “humbly and sincerely apologize”, Mr Johnson promised that he would receive more support from officials and “the highest standards of support and attention in the pursuit of your work.”

Geidt informed Mr Wragg in his letter today that “I expect to be able to describe the role of the independent consultant in terms of a much greater authority, independence and impact that corresponds to the ambitions by the next annual report in April”. for the office that the Prime Minister has appointed. “

LatestPageNews Committee on Standards in Public Life has recommended new powers for the Independent Adviser to investigate without direction from the Prime Minister.

When asked for his opinion on this recommendation, Lord Geidt said to Mr Wragg: “As set out in his correspondence with the Prime Minister. I will consider other aspects as well, both the mandate of appointment and the Ministerial Law itself, as recommended in various recently published reports – including the report … of the Committee on Standards in Public Life. “

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