From Sky News: Boris Johnson is being actively undermined by officials within his own department over Brexit negotiations, it can be revealed.
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.
“With shocking callousness, Boris Johnson caused outrage last month by declaring that the Libyan city of Sirte could become ‘the next Dubai’ once they ‘clear the dead bodies away’. Read more
From Reuters: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson quipped on Tuesday that Libya can become a new Dubai if it can clear the dead bodies away, the latest gaffe by Britain’s top diplomat.
“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.”
[Read full article on Reuters website…]
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.”