Speculation mounts that Boris Johnson is preparing to quit the cabinet
Is the foreign secretary planning to resign after positioning himself as the saviour of the NHS?
"Boris has a track record of winning," an ally has told The Times, somewhat ominously.
But what path will he take to keep his winning streak going?
The anonymous briefer did not say that flouncing out of the cabinet over the NHS is the route that the foreign secretary has mapped out. But that’s what many Westminster insiders are now starting to think.
After last week's call for a cross-Channel bridge, Johnson has now let it be known that he is pushing for an extra £100m a week for the NHS. And it has been noted that Johnson’s headline grabbing and overtly populist call comes as Tory MPs including Nicholas Soames and Ed Vaizey have been publicly voicing concern about the direction of the government and calling for big ideas.
“It is worth drawing the dots here. In June 2016, Boles backed Johnson to be Tory leader. And so did Soames. And so did Vaizey,” states Times journalist Matt Chorley in his Red Box memo this morning.
"Could this all be the pretext for a bust-up, leading to a principled resignation in defence of our beloved National Health Service?”
Yes it could, ITV political editor Robert Peston suggests on his blog.
Peston reveals that one of Johnson’s “senior ministerial colleagues” believes the foreign secretary could be getting ready to quit after audaciously hijacking Jeremy Hunt's update about how hospitals are coping with the winter pressures.
He states: "Theresa May won't be amused. Hunt can't be sure if Johnson is friend or foe. But it is the kind of typical Borisian intervention that says to his backbench colleagues 'if she's too timid as PM, look what I would do'."
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