BORIS Johnson may scrap the ethics adviser role after a second resignation from the post in two years, Downing Street has suggested.

Christopher Geidt resigned from the role on Wednesday evening in a move that the Prime Minister claimed “came as a surprise”.

In his resignation letter, published by the UK Government on Thursday, the outgoing ethics tsar claimed he had been put in an “impossible and odious” position after Johnson allegedly plotted a move which would “risk a deliberate and purposeful breach” of the ministerial code.

It followed Alex Allan’s departure in November 2020, who quit as Johnson’s ethics tsar after the Prime Minister dismissed his findings that Home Secretary Priti Patel had bullied staff.

Allan’s resignation led to a protracted search for a new ethics adviser, with Geidt (below) being appointed five months after his predecessor had left.

The National: Lord Geidt at Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee

Unless No 10 has a replacement lined up – which seems unlikely if Johnson’s claim the resignation came as a “surprise” is true – finding a successor for Geidt could prove more difficult still.

Senior Whitehall sources have told the Guardian that Johnson may dispense with the ethics adviser role altogether.

While Dominic Raab denied this to be the case on Thursday morning, by the early afternoon Downing Street had confirmed that not replacing Geidt was in fact under consideration.

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard, the party’s shadow Cabinet Office minister at Westminster, said that, from the Prime Minister’s point of view, scrapping the role could be “a fairly obvious course of action”.

“It wouldn’t surprise me,” he added. “If you are not going to follow the advice then why have one?

“The worry is that they just appoint a patsy who does what they say – scrapping it might actually be more honest.”

Describing the position of Johnson’s ethics adviser as “a chalice with an awful lot of poison in it”, Sheppard went on: “It’s a further demonstration of how bad the British political elite have become.

“They are playing fast and loose with democracy and trying to remove or to neuter the checks and balances. What’s very shocking is that the Tory MPs are letting him get away with it.

“This is a government that doesn’t like accountability, doesn’t like criticism and whenever it does something wrong it seems content to brazen it out.”