The final straw? Tory colleagues give Johnson the ‘cold shoulder’ after week of gaffes
According to three cabinet ministers, the gaffe-prone Johnson encountered less “jocularity” from colleagues over his recent “f*** business” outburst over Brexit and avoidance of the critical vote on Heathrow expansion, and more “cold shoulder” and even “barely concealed contempt,” the Guardian reports.
The Foreign Secretary was reportedly ignored by senior cabinet members who were “fed up and disappointed” with his recent actions, they feel, have damaged the Tory party, during a 90-minute meeting in which the Brussels EU summit taking place later this week and the government’s LGBT action plan, were discussed.
Prime Minister Theresa May was forced into an embarrassing position at the Times CEO summit on Tuesday, where she distanced herself from Johnson’s colourful language about business concerns over Brexit, insisting that “business is at the heart of how we are going to develop this country.”
Britain's top diplomat faced further ridicule from across all political parties, including Tory colleagues for opting to avoid a vote a third runway at Heathrow airport, an issue he is on record as saying that he would “lie down in front of the bulldozers”, to stop such a project.
He chose instead to make an impromptu visit to meet the Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan; a long enough journey that prevented him from realistically getting back in time to the UK parliament to vote.
His parliamentary counterpart, Labour’s Emily Thornberry, addressed the issue of Johnson’s absence for the Heathrow vote on his return to the house of commons.
She told the house: “Four years ago he was asked the biggest lesson that he had learned from his supposed hero Winston Churchill and his answer was, I quote: ‘Never give in, never give in, never give in.’ For some reason Churchill didn’t add: ‘Unless you can catch a plane to Kabul.’” Johnson responded with a wry smile.
One senior Whitehall source said that Johnson gave his “usual bollocks” over his insistence the UK must stick to its red lines on Brexit, intimating that ministers were losing patience with him.
A cabinet minister, on conclusion of the meeting, added: “Theresa puts up with a lot from Boris, but if he starts damaging the party’s reputation with business or breaking election promises, you move into different territory. Many of us are fed up and disappointed with his constant shows of ill-discipline.”
Johnson arrived back on British soil, early on Tuesday morning at Heathrow airport – a point not lost on his critics. A slightly dishevelled looking foreign secretary was then spotted arriving at No 10 for cabinet.
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