Foreign Office adviser quits after saying ‘liability’ Boris Johnson should be forced out

Helena Morrissey disputed prime minister had shown ‘contrition’ for Partygate – and warned of ‘further challenges’

Boris Johnson jokes his political career has ‘barely begun’ during PMQs

A Foreign Office adviser has quit after saying Boris Johnson should leave No 10 and is “a liability” who is “in the wrong job”.

Helena Morrissey, a Tory peer, also disputed that the prime minister had displayed “contrition” for the Partygate scandal – saying he needed to show “deeds not words”.

She has now resigned as director at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, a paid role to provide “strategic leadership” and “advice on performance and delivery”.

It is understood that she agreed to leave having been told by Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, that her position was untenable.

Baroness Morrissey was asked, on LBC Radio, whether she wanted Mr Johnson “to carry on as prime minister”, following the huge blow of 148 Tory MPs voting against him in the no-confidence vote.

She replied: “In all honesty, I would rather he didn’t,” adding: “I don’t see any contrition.

“He said, ‘We will bash on.’ That’s not what we want to hear. Tax cuts one minute after we’ve raised them, that’s not going to help.”

Asked for the impact on the Conservative party of Mr Johnson trying to cling to power, the peer added: “I do think it will be damaging, and I think we won’t have seen the end of it.

“I think there’ll be further challenges and I know there’s discussions about the practicalities of that.”

Baroness Morrissey argued the booing of the prime minister during the Jubilee celebrations showed “he had actually become a liability rather than an asset in some ways”.

She expressed hope that he would be able to “go with dignity”, adding: “He’s a very talented person, he’s just in the wrong job.”

The resignation is the first since Monday’s no-confidence vote, despite expectations that some ministers might walk out – to try to foment the revolt against the prime minister.

The immediate pressure on Mr Johnson has eased, but only until two likely defeats in crucial Westminster by-elections later this month.

He then faces the ignominy of the Commons committee inquiry into whether he lied to parliament over the No 10 parties – which would be a breach of the ministerial code and viewed as a resignation offence.

Baroness Morrissey hit the headlines in April, when she denied the Covid pandemic existed and blamed Chinese “fake videos” for fears about the virus.

She suggested the crisis had been exaggerated by government “propaganda” because people are not “dropping dead in the street”, tweeting: “The data shows we are NOT in a pandemic.”

She added: “If we were would we need constant propaganda & the biggest gov ad spend ever! If people were dropping dead in the street we would notice & not go to M&S and have all those football matches.”

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