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When he announced his resignation as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ethics advisor, Lord Christopher Geidt complained that Johnson had put him in the “impossible and odious” position of trying to justify how to break the rules of conduct for Her Majesty’s government.
The prime minister asked Geidt how the government could retain some steel tariffs in violation of World Trade Organization agreements, the Guardian reported.
Lord Geidt had also recently “expressed frustration” over Partygate, a political controversy involving Johnson holding events that contravened his own pandemic rules to stop the spread of the coronavirus, added the BBC. Geidt was also critical of Johnson for using a political donor’s funding to renovate the prime minister’s residence and office at 10 Downing Street.
He was the second ethics czar to leave Johnson’s team. Sir Alex Allan quit in 2020 when Johnson ignored his findings on Home Secretary Priti Patel’s alleged bullying of civil servants.
Similarly, earlier this year, Johnson’s “Cost of Living Business Tsar” said he thought the prime minister was “not blessed with intelligence” and should resign, reported Reuters.
It’s no wonder, then, that pundits have foretold the end of Johnson’s career. While he survived a recent vote of no confidence in parliament, his days appear numbered, CNBC noted. “The question is no longer whether Boris Johnson goes, but when,” was the headline of a Washington Post column by Henry Olson, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
As his star falls at home, however, Johnson’s popularity has been skyrocketing in another unlikely place: war-torn Ukraine.
While French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have sought to communicate with Russian President Vladimir Putin to find a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine, Johnson was the first leader of a major Western power to journey to Kyiv to show his support for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine.
Johnson has also ensured that the United Kingdom was part of the pipeline, beginning with the US, of military aid, equipment and weapons to Ukraine, Foreign Policy explained. That help has been critical in the Ukraine military’s success in inflicting heavy casualties on the larger and better-equipped Russian army.
The Zavertailo Bakery in Kyiv has even created a Boris Johnson-themed croissant to celebrate the prime minister. “Crowned with undulating meringue and a scoop of vanilla ice cream to represent the Conservative politician’s unruly golden hair,” the New York Times wrote, the pastry is selling like hot cakes.
Politicians can stand tall on the world stage but stumble at home.