Nicky Morgan hails 'prime ministerial' Boris Johnson despite previous criticism
Nicky Morgan has heaped praise on the job Boris Johnson is doing as Prime Minister - despite previously saying she would never serve in his Cabinet.
The Culture Secretary, who was controversially awarded a peerage after standing down as an MP, said Mr Johnson had shown he was "prime ministerial" since entering Downing Street last summer.
Her comments, in an interview with The House magazine, are in stark contrast to what she said about the PM in the past.
In 2018, she condemned Mr Johnson's "completely appalling" remarks after he said Theresa May's Brexit deal had "wrapped a suicide vest around the British constitution".
Baroness Morgan said at the time: "He knew exactly what he was doing when he was using that language...
"This is the second time now he has chosen deliberately incendiary language which just masks the ability to debate the issues and reflects very badly."
Asked whether she would serve in a government led by Mr Johnson, she said: "I think I'm very unlikely to be asked but the answer is no. I would not serve in a Boris Johnson Cabinet."
In a remarkable U-turn, she agreed to become Culture Secretary in Mr Johnson's first Cabinet, and then accepted a peerage in order to stay in the job after the general election.
Defending her decision, Baroness Morgan told The House: "My view is that I took the role in Cabinet when the Prime Minister offered it on the basis that I think it’s really important to have a variety of voices around the table with different views on the Conservative Party, different views on Brexit, and the Prime Minister understands and respects that.
"I also think that if you’re asked to serve your country and Parliament then you should say yes unless there’s a very good reason to say no.
"The lesson from the last three-and-a-half years and from the general election is the country expects its politicians to be able to put aside their differences and get things done on their behalf. I hope that I’ve been able to show that this is possible."
On Mr Johnson's performance as Prime Minister, she added: "It is incumbent on those of us in public life to take down the temperature of situations.
"That is one of the things I have watched Boris Johnson doing and that’s why working alongside him is so enjoyable.
"The way he conducts debates and everything else now, he absolutely just does it in a prime ministerial way."
Elsewhere in the interview, Baroness Morgan also suggested that the Oscars should ban all-male shortlists after organisers were criticised for not including any women in this year's Best Director category.
The minister said: "Whether there is a very strong nudge or a period of time in which they say, ‘Right, for the next five years we’re going to make sure that we don’t have all-male best director nominees’, but there’s got to be something.
"It’s not enough just to wring their hands. Surely 2021 has got to be the year where there is a better more diverse set of nominees."