From Daily Mirror: Scottish Tories have launched a secret campaign codenamed “Operation Arse” to stop Boris Johnson becoming the party leader, it has been revealed.
From The Guardian: Boris Johnson’s support among grassroots Conservatives, already resurgent in the wake of his resignation over Brexit, appears to have been bolstered further by his claim that Muslim women in burqas resemble letterboxes and bank robbers.
Tory activists have claimed that party members admire the former foreign secretary’s “straight talking” on the controversial issue and suggested his words implied he had listened to some of their concerns about community integration.
One senior grassroots activist said the membership was unlikely to be offended by his choice of language. “I doubt it. They’ll know what Boris is doing. They know how he operates – and they like it. The grassroots talk straight and polishing everything with Westminster-speak is not the way they do it. It won’t do him any harm.”
[Read full article on Guardian website…] Below: Guardian cartoon by Martin Rowson
In March, the then foreign secretary was forced to eat humble pie after referring to his Labour opposite number, Emily Thornberry, as the “Lady Baroness whatever” in the House of Commons – an apparent reference to the title of her husband, Sir Christopher Nugee.
His comment brought a sharp dressing down from the Speaker, John Bercow, who said his language was “inappropriate and frankly sexist”. A contrite Johnson insisted he had meant no harm and apologised “unreservedly” if he hurt Thornberry’s feelings.
More seriously, he faced calls to resign in November following claims that his careless comments about a British-Iranian woman held in Iran had jeopardised her chances of release. Giving evidence to the foreign affairs select committee, Johnson said Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been “training journalists” at the time of her arrest, even though she maintained she was on holiday.
Her dismayed family said the error had been seized upon by Iranian authorities as proof that she represented a threat to the government.
From Channel 4 News Fact Check: Boris Johnson wrote: “If a country cannot pass a law to save the lives of female cyclists — when that proposal is supported at every level of UK Government — then I don’t see how that country can truly be called independent.”
The problem is, Mr Johnson is wrong.
Guardian editorial: “Mr Johnson is the most overrated politician in Britain, especially by himself. He was an embarrassingly useless foreign secretary. He diminished Britain’s standing in the world and he diminished his own reputation by the way he played his role, not least by his praise for Donald Trump. He was simply not up to the job. But Boris Johnson does not do serious. He does self-interest. The British government is better off without him. The Tory party should not deceive itself that he is the answer to its problems.”
From Daily Telegraph: Boris Johnson was embroiled in a diplomatic row with Brussels on Friday night after he was accused of using a four-letter F-word to dismiss an ambassador’s question about the post-Brexit needs of British business.
“Imagine Trump doing Brexit,” Johnson said. “He’d go in bloody hard… There’d be all sorts of breakdowns, all sorts of chaos. Everyone would think he’d gone mad. But actually you might get somewhere. It’s a very, very good thought.”
Boris Johnson has done a runner from the UK House of Commons to avoid Emily Thornberry's Urgent Question on Gaza. This is now the second time a Cabinet minister has dodged a question in a week.MORE: https://on.rt.com/952i
Posted by Independent Media on Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Sky News has learnt that Foreign Office officials told Ireland’s Government “not to listen to whatever he had to say” ahead of Mr Johnson’s visit to Dublin a few weeks ago.
Extraordinarily, officials in Whitehall were very open with their counterparts in the Irish capital to “ignore the public utterances” of Britain’s chief diplomat.
Ahead of the visit, Irish officials were told “not to mind a word of what he says” – implying the Foreign Secretary was not speaking on behalf of the UK Government.
Jeremy Corbyn writes in the Observer: “Theresa May should never have appointed someone as Britain’s top diplomat who had accused Barack Obama of being anti-British because he’s ‘part-Kenyan’, and notoriously wrote about ‘flag-waving piccaninnies’.
“Now, after 16 months of the foreign secretary damaging Britain’s standing in the world, she should sack him.
From New Statesman: A former British ambassador, requesting anonymity, called Boris Johnson “the least deserving and least qualified foreign secretary of modern times, who has successfully lived down to all expectations”. A senior European diplomat based in London concurred, saying that Johnson was “not taken seriously as a foreign policy actor” and was damaging British interests. He reckoned that three-fifths of the 27 EU ambassadors in London quite like Johnson but consider him ill-suited to the job, while the remaining two-fifths “positively dislike him”.
“They’ve got a brilliant vision to turn Sirte, with the help of the municipality of Sirte, to turn it into the next Dubai,” Johnson said. “The only thing they’ve got to do is clear the dead bodies away and then we will be there.”
Rachel Sylvester, the Political Studies Association’s 2016 Journalist of the Year, writes in the Times: “According to diplomatic sources, even officials at the Trump White House ‘don’t want to go anywhere near Boris Johnson because they think he’s a joke’. If that seems ironic, one minister says: ‘It’s worse in Europe. There is not a single foreign minister there who takes him seriously. They think he’s a clown who can never resist a gag.’
[Link to full article in The Times…] (paywalled, but registration allows two free articles per month)
From the Guardian: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson caused a “livid” reaction from a worshipper in a Sikh temple by discussing his enthusiasm for a boost in the whisky trade. Alcohol is forbidden under some Sikh teachings.
Boris said to the crowd in the temple: “I hope I’m not embarrassing anybody here by saying that when we go to India, we have to bring ‘clinky’ in our luggage. We have to bring Johnnie Walker.”
“There is a duty of 150% in India on imports of Scottish whisky. So we have to bring it in for our relatives duty free. Imagine what we could do with a trade deal with India, which there will be, because then the tariffs would go.”