James O'Brien reacts to Boris Johnson appointing a new ethics adviser

29 April 2021, 12:21

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

'Is there any point in having an ethics adviser if the Prime Minister is completely free to ignore their findings?'

After crossbench peer Lord Geidt was named as the Prime Minister's adviser on ministerial interests James O'Brien reflected on the appointment.

Lord Christopher Geidt took on the role on Wednesday after it remained unfilled since Sir Alex Allan resigned last November.

James said he could "not believe anybody who listened to this program on a passing basis needs me to tell them why that position has been vacant since last November."

But, James told his listeners anyway.

Explaining what led to the resignation of the last adviser on ministerial interests, James said the tale set out "everything you need to know about Boris Johnson's respect/reverence for ethics."

Lord Geidt was previously the Queen's private secretary, spending a decade acting as a channel of communication between Downing Street and the head of state until 2017.

"He had to appoint one eventually, especially given the couple of weeks he's just had."

James said as soon as Lord Geidt took the job it emerged the Chair of the Standards Committee had expressed a desire that the adviser would have the powers to launch their own investigations.

However, Boris Johnson overruled this.

This led to James coming to a conclusion.

"Is there any point in having an ethics adviser if the PM is completely free to ignore their findings?"