Was he tak­ing re­venge for Elec­tion ‘snub’?

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Bren­dan Car­lin PO­LIT­I­CAL REPORTER

THE re­fusal by Boris John­son to let Theresa May see his dev­as­tat­ing ‘Brexit man­i­festo’ could have been re­venge for a sim­i­lar snub by her in the Elec­tion, it was claimed last night.

Mrs May’s aides banned him from see­ing the Tories’ Elec­tion man­i­festo in ad­vance be­cause they were con­vinced he would leak it, ac­cord­ing to a new book by po­lit­i­cal jour­nal­ists Tim Ross and Tom McTague.

They say the For­eign Sec­re­tary was an­noyed to be ‘locked out of the man­i­festo-writ­ing process’ and that his re­peated de­mands to see it were re­jected be­cause he was not deemed ‘trust­wor­thy’.

The book, be­ing se­ri­alised in the MoS, quotes a May aide say­ing: ‘No doubt Boris wanted to leak it so he wasn’t go­ing to see it.’ Last night, one Tory MP pri­vately sug­gested Mr Boris’s sur­prise Brexit in­ter­ven­tion could be ‘Boris get­ting his own back on Theresa’ for the man­i­festo snub.

The re­buff is one of a series of hu­mil­i­a­tions in­flicted on Mr John­son by Mrs May.

Two years ago as Home Sec­re­tary, she em­bar­rassed Mr John­son by thwart­ing the then Lon­don mayor’s bid to use Ger­man-made wa­ter can­non in the cap­i­tal – even though he had al­ready bought them.

At the launch of her Tory lead­er­ship cam­paign in 2016, she mocked him for spend­ing £200,000 on the sec­ond-hand can­nons – that were never used – claim­ing it proved he was not fit to take charge of Brexit talks. ‘The last time he did a deal with the Ger­mans, he came back with three nearly-new wa­ter can­non,’ she said.

Her most spec­tac­u­lar pub­lic put-down came at the Spec­ta­tor mag­a­zine an­nual awards din­ner last year.

Seiz­ing on a re­mark by Mr John­son who had light-heart­edly com­pared him­self to Michael He­sel­tine’s Al­sa­tian dog, and with the For­eign Sec­re­tary in the au­di­ence, the Prime Min­is­ter quipped: ‘Boris, the dog was put down… when its mas­ter de­cided it wasn’t needed any more.’

In her first speech to the Tory con­fer­ence as leader last year, she jok­ingly ques­tioned the For­eign Sec­re­tary’s abil­ity to stick to an agreed Govern­ment line, ask­ing: ‘Can Boris John­son stay on mes­sage for a full four days?’

In a fur­ther hu­mil­i­a­tion, there were re­ports that, far from Mr John­son pulling out of a trip to Moscow at the last minute to at­tend a sum­mit on Syria in April this year, it was ac­tu­ally Mrs May who had stepped in and or­dered the For­eign Sec­re­tary not to go.

Last night, al­lies of Mr John­son de­nied that his Brexit ar­ti­cle amounted to an at­tempt to take re­venge on the Prime Min­is­ter over the Elec­tion man­i­festo snub.

They also dis­missed the idea that he was con­sid­ered un­trust­wor­thy by Mrs May’s ad­vis­ers.

One John­son ally con­firmed that the For­eign Sec­re­tary had made re­peated re­quests to see the Elec­tion man­i­festo but in­sisted that al­most every other Cab­i­net Min­is­ter had done so as well – and had also been turned down.

PUT-DOWNS: Theresa May has re­peat­edly tar­geted Boris John­son

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