BORIS Johnson’s independent ethics adviser has refused to deny that he considered resigning over the Prime Minister’s response to the partygate scandal.

Lord Christopher Geidt told the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee he had felt “frustration” and that the option of resignation was always “on the agenda”.

However, he said that he did not believe there was ever a point when he formed “a single direct proposition” in his own mind.

The Times reported that Geidt threatened to quit his post following the publication last month of the Sue Gray report into repeated lockdown violations in Whitehall unless Johnson issued a public explanation for his conduct.

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In response, the Prime Minister put out a letter to Geidt (below) saying he believed any breach of the Covid rules when he attended a gathering in the Cabinet room for his 56th birthday had been “unwitting”.

The National:

He said he had acted in “good faith” when he told Parliament that there had not been any parties and that he had since corrected the record.

Asked about claims he threatened to quit, Geidt said that “the commentariat” had picked up on his “frustration” at that time.

“I am glad that the Prime Minister was able to respond to my report and in doing so addressed aspects of the things about which I was clearly frustrated,” he told the committee.

“Resignation is one of the rather blunt but few tools available to the adviser. I am glad that my frustrations were addressed in the way that they were.”

Pressed by Labour MP John McDonnell ifhe had contemplated resignation, Lord Geidt said: “There are few instruments available to an independent adviser and [it is] important to consider what is going to work best in the interest, not of me, but preserving the integrity of the system and of the [Ministerial] Code in making it work in advising the Prime Minister on holding ministers – including a prime minister – publicly to account.”

“I haven’t given you a direct answer but I don’t think there was ever a single, direct proposition in my own mind.”

McDonnell replied: “I am going to take that answer as at least it was on the agenda.”

Lord Geidt said: “We have mentioned before in evidence that it is always on the agenda as an available remedy to a particular problem.”