Boris Johnson is 'fantastic', says Andrea Leadsom, amid Tory leadership unrest

Senior Tories have hit out at the Foreign Secretary after repeated interventions over Brexit

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Monday 02 October 2017 20:38 BST
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Boris Johnson has yet again penned an article criticising Theresa May and Brexit
Boris Johnson has yet again penned an article criticising Theresa May and Brexit (AFP/Getty)

Andrea Leadsom had thrown her weight behind Boris Johnson, branding the Foreign Secretary “fantastic” despite a growing backlash against his supposed leadership ambitions.

Senior Tories raised opposition to Mr Johnson’s repeated Brexit interventions during the Conservatives annual conference, with one ex-cabinet minister calling his behaviour “extremely disloyal”.

Ms Leadsom, an ardent Brexiteer, told a fringe event she would remain in the cabinet “as long as the Prime Minister wants” after she diverged from Tory policy by saying the UK would take back control of its “money, borders, laws” by its official exit from the bloc in 2019.

The comments appeared to contradict Theresa May’s major Brexit speech in Florence where she conceded the UK could stick to EU rules over a two-year transition period.

Speaking at a fringe event on Brexit, the Commons leader said: “In terms of myself and can I stay in the cabinet, it’s absolutely clear I shall be in the cabinet just as long as the Prime Minister wants me to be.

“I can also assure you that the same is true of Boris.

“I think he is fantastic but I would love him to go to the parliamentary hairdresser.”

Tory MP Vicky Ford, a former MEP, told the same event that one of the biggest risks to a successful Brexit would be a leadership contest.

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson called for an end to the leadership “psychodrama”, Ms May’s deputy Damian Green demanded cabinet discussions take place in private and Scottish Secretary David Mundell mocked Mr Johnson’s electoral appeal.

Ms May attempted to dismiss questions about the leadership in interviews but failed to quash the issue as Mr Johnson’s antics continued to dominate the conference in Manchester.

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