Tory forced out as Foreign Office adviser over Boris Johnson criticism

Baroness Morrissey had described the Prime Minister as a ‘liability’ and urged him to resign.

Baroness Morrissey (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Baroness Morrissey (Jonathan Brady/PA)

A Conservative peer has been forced out as a Foreign Office adviser after branding Boris Johnson a “liability” and urging him to resign.

Baroness Morrissey said the Prime Minister had shown no contrition after he survived a vote of no confidence despite 148 Tory MPs voting for him to go.

The financier, who was lead non-executive director at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), said Mr Johnson will be “damaging” to the party.

It was understood Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was outraged by the adviser’s comments and instructed the FCDO’s top civil servant Sir Philip Barton to sack her.

A source close to Ms Truss said: “She jumped moments before she would have been pushed.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (Henry Nicholls/PA)

On Tuesday evening, Baroness Morrissey was asked during an appearance on LBC’s Tonight With Andrew Marr if she wants Mr Johnson to carry on in No 10.

“In all honesty I would rather he didn’t,” she responded. “I don’t see any contrition.”

Asked about the impact of the Prime Minister clinging on to power, the Tory peer said: “I do think it will be damaging and I think we won’t have seen the end of it.”

Baroness Morrissey said she was not surprised that 41% of Conservative MPs voted against Mr Johnson in Monday’s no confidence vote.

“When wavering MPs saw the booing of the Prime Minister outside St Paul’s they could see he has become a liability rather than an asset,” she said, referring to the public reaction to Mr Johnson during Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

She described the Prime Minister as a “very talented person” but added that “he’s just in the wrong job”.

A FCDO spokeswoman said: “Helena Morrissey has left her role as lead non-executive director at the FCDO.”

The official declined to comment on suggestions Sir Philip, who Ms Truss has backed despite MPs demanding his resignation over the Afghanistan crisis, was told to sack the adviser.

Conservative former Cabinet minister Julian Smith tweeted that he was “v sorry” to hear Baroness Morrissey had left Government.

“Her drive, focus & commitment to diversity will be badly missed,” he added.

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