Top Tory Dominic Grieve says he will quit the party if Boris Johnson becomes leader
Influential Conservative MP Dominic Grieve has said he will leave the party if Boris Johnson becomes leader.
The former attorney general lashed out at the ex-foreign secretary after he said in a Telegraph article that Muslim women who wear burqas look like bank robbers and letterboxes.
Speaking on Radio 4's World at One programme, Mr Grieve described the former cabinet minister’s comments as “embarrassing” and “offensive”.
Asked if he believed the remarks could bolster Mr Johnson's chances of becoming the next Conservative leader, Mr Grieve replied: “I’ve no idea if it enhances his leadership ambitions but one thing is quite clear, if he were to become leader of the party then I for one wouldn’t be in it.”
Mr Grieve added that Mr Johnson was “not a fit and proper leader of a political party and certainly not the Conservative party".
“He is somebody who seems to me to pursue an agenda which is entirely self-referential. Doesn’t take account of colleagues.
“He wasn’t able to observe Cabinet responsibility when he was in government - which was a very notable feature of his time as foreign secretary - and he now does things which I find, as I say, embarrassing.”
Mr Grieve also accused his Tory colleague of breaching the ministerial code by taking on his weekly Telegraph column without asking permission.
And he said Mr Johnson had implied in a recent article that the UK had been in breach of international law over its military action in Syria by claiming that some of the action taken had been aggressive rather than defensive.
Mr Grieve said: “If that’s the case then that’s a flagrant breach of international law and if he was a party to it as foreign secretary and engaged in it on that basis, then not only has he put the United Kingdom in breach of international law then he has put himself in breach of the criminal law.”
Mr Johnson sparked a backlash on Monday when he mocked women who wear burkas, saying it was "absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes".
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is the latest senior Tory to call for Mr Johnson to apologise over the remarks, following condemnantion from both Theresa May and party chair Brandon Lewis.
Speaking at an event today she said: "I think that this wasn't an off-the-cuff slip, he wrote a column, he knew exactly what he was doing and I think it crossed from being provocative and starting a debate and actually it became rude and gratuitous... I think he should apologise."