Keir Starmer’s party wants cross-party group of MPs to appoint adviser who can probe rule breaches
Lord Geidt quit last week as the independent adviser on ministers’ interests – saying the PM had put him in an “impossible and odious position”.
Mr Johnson is considering not replacing his ethics watchdog, with No 10 saying there would be a review into how best to manage the “vitally important” function and admitting the position could be abolished.
Labour’s proposal would hand new powers to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee (PACAC) to appoint its own ethics adviser on alleged ministerial code breaches if the role is unfilled.
Keir Starmer’s party will force a vote on Tuesday on the motion, which would give the committee’s ethics adviser the ability to launch investigations if Lord Geidt is not replaced within two months.
Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said it would amount to putting No 10 in “special measures” to stop Mr Johnson “running roughshod over the rules, dodging accountability, and degrading standards in public life”.
“The prime minister has driven both of his own hand-picked ethics advisers to resign in despair in just two years, leaving an ethical vacuum in Downing Street,” she said.
Challenging Tory MPs to back the motion tomorrow, she said: “Labour’s proposal would ensure that a cross-party group of MPs is given powers to step in and monitor this rogue prime minister’s behaviour until a new, genuinely independent adviser is confirmed.”
It comes as culture secretary Nadine Dorries said voters do not “give a fig” about the resignation of Boris Johnson’s independent ethics adviser, Lord Geidt.
The Johnson ally – who also denied “fancying” the prime minister – mocked the departing peer, calling him “Lord Geddit”. Ms Dorries claimed that he had constantly complained about the amount of work he had to do.
Lord Geidt said his resignation last week had been prompted by the PM’s willingness to breach international law.
In a second letter to explain his shock decision, the official said details of a row over steel tariffs were a “distraction” from his real motivation to leave his position.
He said was unwilling to endorse the government’s openness to breaking its international obligations, suggesting his anger at Mr Johnson’s attempt to override the Northern Ireland protocol.
Lord Geidt became the second independent adviser to quit his post during Mr Johnson’s premiership.
Sir Alex Allan quit in November 2020 when the PM kept home secretary Priti Patel, accused of bullying, in her post against his advice.