Mon, 11 December 2023

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Number 10 forced to insist Theresa May has 'full confidence' in Boris Johnson

2 min read

Theresa May has "full confidence" in Boris Johnson despite claims he is a laughing stock around the world, Number 10 has insisted.

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister insisted the pair have "a good relationship" and she believes Mr Johnson is doing "a good job" as Foreign Secretary.

She was forced to make clear Mrs May's backing for her Cabinet colleague amid reports that his reputation among global leaders is plummeting.

In a column in The Times, Rachel Sylvester said diplomatic sources had told her that White House officials "don’t want to go anywhere near Boris because they think he’s a joke".

One minister said: "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.”

And one unnamed Tory MP said: "The French think Boris is totally unreliable, the Germans think he’s a liar and the Italians think he’s dangerous. He is undermining our ability to negotiate internationally and degrading our position abroad. The Foreign Secretary is supposed to enhance Britain’s reputation but all over the world Boris is making matters worse."

Officials in the Foreign Office are also said to be approaching junior minister Alan Duncan for decisions, rather than Mr Johnson.

But a spokeswoman for Mrs May said: "The Prime Minister has a good relationship with Boris Johnson and has full confidence in him. He's doing a good job."

Mr Johnson appeared to take a swipe at the Prime Minister last week when he warned Libyan government officials they need to be properly prepared before calling an election.

Speaking to Libyan PM Fayez al Serraj, he said: "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."

In a rare media appearance last week, Mr Johnson also 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.

He said: "Some of the sums that I’ve seen seem to be very high and of course we will meet our obligations, you know, we are law-abiding, bill-paying people, the UK has contributed hundreds of billions over the years. We will certainly have to meet our obligations."

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