Fri, 24 May 2024

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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
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Boris Johnson takes swipe at PM over poll failure: 'If you're going to have elections, you have got to get ready'

John Ashmore

2 min read

Boris Johnson has taken a swipe at Theresa May's disastrous decision to call the snap general election. 

On a two-day visit to Libya, the Foreign Secretary was picked up on a microphone telling prime minister Fayez al Serraj that "if you're going to have elections, you have got to get ready".

Mr Johnson followed up the jibe in an interview in which he warned of the "pitfalls in calling elections too soon".

Mrs May's decision to go to the country on 8 June spectacularly backfired when she lost her Commons majority.

The Foreign Secretary - still tipped by many as Mrs May's successor - has previously been outwardly supportive of the Prime Minister.  

But he told Mr al-Serraj: “We have had an election since I last saw you [in May]. It went more or less to plan. Well, not entirely to plan. It is a bit of a lesson, which is that if you are going to have elections, you have got to get ready."

Mr Johnson later told BBC News he had been offering some advice on democratic politics to his Libyan hosts.

“We have been encouraging them, telling them about politics, telling them about what it takes to fight an election, warning them about some of the pitfalls in calling elections too soon or whatever, which is one of the risks they face here because they haven’t got their ducks lined up properly,” he said.

It is the latest in a series of barbs traded between the two senior Tories. 

At an awards ceremony shortly after entering Downing St, Mrs May joked that Mr Johnson could be "put down" if his "master decided he wasn't needed any more".


In a separate BBC interview this morning, Mr Johnson admitted Britain will have to pay a Brexit divorce bill - just weeks after saying the European Union would have to "go whistle" for the cash.

The Foreign Secretary said the British were "law-abiding, bill-paying people" and would settle what they owe before leaving the bloc.

But last month, he told the Commons: "The sums I have seen that they propose to demand from this country appear to be extortionate. Go whistle seems to me to be an entirely appropriate expression."

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