Philip Hammond makes an impression on Operation Get Boris
The chancellor is not the first member of the government to do a less-than-flattering impersonation of their colleague.
He’s not even speaking until Tuesday, but Boris Johnson is the name on pretty much everyone’s lips at the Tory conference.
His Sunday Times broadside at the PM’s “deranged” Brexit strategy got the backs up of friend and foe alike yesterday, prompting a Tory pile-on by the likes of Ruth Davidson, Sajid Javid and even David Davis. If that wasn’t enough, former CBI boss Digby Jones got a standing ovation from the conference hall - including one T May - when he described Johnson as “irrelevant and offensive”.
‘Operation Get Boris’ cranks up another notch today, with Philip Hammond giving an amazing interview to the Daily Mail in which he does an impersonation of Johnson as a way of emphasising how little he thinks of him:
“Boris sits there and at the end of it he says 'yeah but, er, there must be a way, I mean, if you just, if you, erm, come on, we can do it Phil, we can do it. I know we can get there.'And that's it!”
The chancellor becomes the second Tory politician in recent years to do an impression of Johnson, following in the footsteps of his former Foreign Office deputy Alan Duncan in 2016. And that was just for starters, with Duncan recently slamming his old boss and then explaining that you have to "fight fire with fire".
Meanwhile at this year’s Tory conference Davis has already told a fringe event that Johnson's ideas “are good headlines, but not necessarily good policies” and Davidson uses her conference speech to take a pop at far-fetched “ivory-towered schemes of the ideological puritan”. Whoever could she be talking about?
The collective feeling towardthe former foreign secretary in Birmingham seems to be one of exasperation and a growing determination to stop him ever becoming leader. One Cabinet minister told this writer last night: “He must be stopped. It’s as simple as that.”