On Wednesday evening, Boris Johnson’s ethics adviser quit his post. Lord Geidt sent a forthright letter to the PM in which he complained he had been put in “an impossible and odious position”.
The partygate saga clearly had its toll on Lord Geidt, who was grilled over the independence of his position. Yet the ethics tsar claimed he had resigned over a different matter – oddly, a rather niche row over Chinese steel. Last year, the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) – an independent body in charge of assessing whether new tariffs on goods are needed – recommended the UK remove some of the tariffs on Chinese steel.
The Department of International Trade then got the power to change this advice through emergency legislation.
Instead of following the TRA recommendations, the government extended some of the tariffs for a year – and set to decide what to do next. Boris Johnson interrogated Lord Geidt on whether extending the tariffs could have been in breach of WTO obligations. Apparently fed up, Lord Geidt gave his notice.