Call for May to fire Boris over Brexit chal­lenge

The Press - - World -

BRI­TAIN: Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May has been urged to sack Boris John­son af­ter he chal­lenged her author­ity by pub­lish­ing a 4000 word trea­tise set­ting out his de­mands from the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions.

The For­eign Sec­re­tary has in­fu­ri­ated some of his Cab­i­net col­leagues, in­clud­ing Chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­mond, with his wide rang­ing de­mands in the ar­ti­cle for The Daily Tele­graph.

Down­ing Street was only given a few hours no­tice of pub­li­ca­tion of the ar­ti­cle, which was in­ter­preted by MPs and West­min­ster watch­ers as a bid to reignite his lead­er­ship cam­paign.

The Sun­day Tele­graph has learned that aides to May phoned John­son yes­ter­day to seek re­as­sur­ances that his in­ter­ven­tion days ahead of her key speech on Bri­tain’s fu­ture af­ter the EU in Florence was not a lead­er­ship bid.

John­son’s friends ve­he­mently de­nied that the ar­ti­cle was a lead­er­ship bid or was in­tended to be crit­i­cal of May.

John­son - who re­pub­lished his ar­ti­cle on his Face­book page yes­ter­day - wrote on Twit­ter: ‘‘Look­ing for­ward to PM’s Florence speech. All be­hind Theresa for a glo­ri­ous Brexit.’’

But crit­ics noted John­son’s ar­ti­cle did not of­fer any praise to David Davis and Liam Fox, the two Cab­i­net min­is­ters who May has trusted with de­liv­er­ing Brexit. The ar­ti­cle was also luke­warm about Ham­mond, not­ing coolly that the Trea­sury ‘‘has not so far sought to pun­ish the Bri­tish peo­ple with an emer­gency bud­get’’.

Ham­mond was said by friends to be pre­pared ‘‘to sit tight’’ but was ‘‘very an­gry’’ about the ar­ti­cle.

An­other se­nior min­is­ter who backed Re­main in the EU ref­er­en­dum said May could sack John­son and give him the NHS to run so he can spend the £350 mil­lion him­self.

He said: ‘‘If he can’t set­tle into his job as For­eign Sec­re­tary then he needs to go and do some­thing else.

‘‘If he is in­ter­ested in health he could vol­un­teer to be the Sec­re­tary of State for Health. Jeremy Hunt has done a long stint of five years - per­haps Boris would like to go and run the health service if he has all these ideas of fund­ing it?

‘‘There is a strong worry that he is lin­ing him­self up to get sacked - and that is the last thing we need. Why doesn’t he just con­cen­trate on the se­ri­ous stuff and stop bring­ing back this non­sense about the £350 mil­lion.

‘‘It just p ..... us off be­cause we don’t want to be re­minded about that non­sense. It is all about tone and tim­ing. Res­ur­rect­ing the £350 mil­lion? It is not gov­ern­ment pol­icy. No one is say­ing that, leave or re­main, in the Gov­ern­ment.

‘‘I thought we’d set­tled down and grown up and then we get this? The silly sea­son is over. It is a bizarre and ill-judged in­ter­ven­tion.’’

Ruth David­son, the leader of the Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tives who is close to May, wrote on Twit­ter: ‘‘On the day of a ter­ror at­tack where Bri­tons were maimed, just hours af­ter the threat level is raised, our only thoughts should be on service.’’

A for­mer Con­ser­va­tive min­is­ter said that John­son was now ‘‘sail­ing within an inch of be­ing thrown out of the Gov­ern­ment’’.

The ex-min­is­ter said: ‘‘He has lit a fuse un­der the whole bloody thing. He is ef­fec­tively say­ing that she is not han­dling Brexit prop­erly and that he is be­ing kept on a leash, and he now needs to be let off the leash.

‘‘One should not dis­count com­pletely that Boris thinks the party con­fer­ence could un­der­mine the prime min­is­ter. She should be safe for two years but that could change [at the Con­ser­va­tive party con­fer­ence] in Manch­ester if there is a con­certed ef­fort to get rid of her.

‘‘She is ba­si­cally serv­ing at the plea­sure of Con­ser­va­tive MPs who could move to­mor­row to get rid of her. She is in an in­cred­i­bly weak po­si­tion.’’

- Tele­graph Group

Boris John­son

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.