Ed Davey calls for ministerial code to be properly enforceable

The Guardian reports:

The Liberal Democrats have called for the ministerial code to be made legally enforceable by stripping Downing Street of the power to override decisions about breaches and preventing Johnson from acting like an “elected dictator”.

Following the prime minister’s quashing of the finding that the home secretary, Priti Patel, breached the code by bullying staff, as well as his refusal to take action against Dominic Cummings and Hancock for breaching Covid rules, the Lib Dem leader, Ed Davey, said the situation was “untenable”.

He will push for a change in the law so that punishments can be handed out directly by the ministerial adviser on standards, Christopher Geidt.

Davey said Johnson should still ultimately be able to choose his ministers and special advisers, but if he decided to go against the recommendation of Lord Geidt, the individual concerned should forfeit their taxpayer-funded salary.

“If we don’t do something like this, then the ministerial code is a joke,” Davey said, accusing Johnson of having “brought the whole system into disrepute”.

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