A senior Conservative MP took to the BBC to lay into both Theresa May and Boris Johnson. And his stinging intervention will only add fuel to the fire of the arguments that Johnson should resign, and that May is presiding over a cabinet of chaos.
On Tuesday 19 September, Rushcliffe MP Ken Clarke was speaking on BBC Radio Four‘s Today programme. And he pulled no punches when it came to his assessment of the ongoing furore surrounding the PM and the Foreign Secretary.
Johnson has been hitting the headlines again for repeating the discredited pledge that the UK could get £350m a week for the NHS when it leaves the EU.
Clarke said [2.20] that, if Johnson “wants to be Foreign Secretary”:
He should actually make some more serious contributions on wider foreign policy, give his views on… Brexit… privately… sounding off personally in this way is totally unhelpful…
He then accused [2.45] Johnson of “exploiting” May’s weak position and lack of a majority in parliament, saying that, in “normal” circumstances, he would have been sacked by now:
Lies, damned lies and… more lies?
The storm around Johnson intensified when he penned an article [paywall] for The Telegraph, repeating the ‘£350m for the NHS’ pledge. And as The Canary reported, his faux-pas opened some wounds in the Tory front bench:
Number 10 had not cleared Johnson’s article before it went out. And his colleagues have said he put his ‘personal ambition ahead of the Brexit process’. Although reports suggest it may be a ‘leadership bid’, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said outright on the BBC‘s Andrew Marr Show that she for one didn’t want Johnson ‘managing the Brexit process’.
But Clarke’s comments on the Today programme just added more fuel to this fire. He implied [3.24] that Johnson was behaving like a child, by publicly not toeing the government line on Brexit. And he then made a damning assessment of Johnson, and swiped at May’s lack of control over the cabinet and Brexit, saying [4.06]:
[Our] friends… inside the European Union… cannot understand what we think we’re doing. Now, if [there] are genuine disagreements within the cabinet… I get the impression there are… you don’t put self-publicising articles in the most Eurosceptic newspaper you can think of… [But] that’s enough of Boris.
BoJo the Clown
The PM came out on Monday 18 September, saying “Boris is Boris”. But if being publicly slapped down by the UK’s most senior statistician, ridiculed by the world’s media, and seemingly lying (repeatedly) to the public is just ‘being Boris’, May would do well to cut Johnson free, and quickly. If not for the sake of her own career, for the sake of the Brexit negotiations.
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