Labour MPs savour Boris Johnson's 'awful outing' on Radio 4

Written by David Singleton on 22 June 2017 in Diary

Johnson struggled to answer questions put to him by BBC presenter Eddie Mair.

Labour MPs have lapped up a blundering interview by Boris Johnson, in which the foreign secretary struggled to answer questions about the Queen’s Speech.

As he appeared on BBC Radio 4's PM programme, Johnson will have confirmed doubts in the minds of many Tory MPs about his suitability to be the party’s next leader.

The foreign secretary was asked how the Queen’s Speech developed the prime minister’s promise to tackle racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.

He replied: “Well, there are measures, I believe, in the bill on the courts, which I think is supposed to address some of those issues.

“I think one thing in particular that we are looking at is measures to . . . hang on a second . . .”

Asked about another burning injustice, mental health care, Johnson then tried to return to the first question.

"What we want to see on mental healthcare is... er... to get a proper understanding, and to get back to your first question."

But an exasperated Mair shot back: "Well, why don't we do the questions in the order I'm asking them. It's not a Two Ronnies sketch. You can't answer the question before last."





Journalists agreed that the interview was one of the most excruciating media interactions of Johnson’s career, with the BBC’s Laura Kuennsberg calling it "an awful outing for the foreign sec".

And Labour MPs showed no hesitation putting to boot in either.

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said on Twitter: "Boris Johnson in 'worst interview by a politician ever' following Queen's Speech. Tories in such a mess now."

Emma Lewell Buck said: "Boris confirming what we already know, Govt not fit to govern."

And Diana Johnson said the foreign secretary was "just hopeless".

Tory MPs were also privately scathing about the performance, with one of their number telling TP: “He tried to cuff it and got found out. It’s a good job he doesn’t have an important job like foreign secretary!”

Appearing on Channel 4 News soon afterwards, Johnson insisted he had no plans to be Tory leader anyway.

Asked if he was ruling out standing for the Tory leadership until after Brexit in 2019, he said: "Yes, we have got to get on and deliver on the priorities of the people."

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