THERE will be considerable relief that Boris Johnson has not – for now – offered Chris Grayling a Cabinet job in return for his support in the Tory leadership race. “Absolutely not,” said the Transport Secretary in a rare interview when asked were that the case.
Yet, while the former Foreign Secretary is the only one of the remaining candidates with any momentum, Mr Johnson’s campaign does continue to be bereft of statesmanship.
His public appearances, now as rare as Mr Grayling’s interviews, remain carefully controlled to reduce the likelihood of gaffes. He rudely and contemptuously brushed off the six questions that he was prepared to take from the media at his launch event. And he has refused to confirm his attendance at forthcoming TV debates. These are not the actions of a leader who aspires to represent Britain on the world stage; speak for the nation at times of crisis; solve Brexit and unite a country that he has done so much to divide.
Quite the opposite. His avoidance of questions about his character, integrity and values point to a man who has good reason to be fearful of close scrutiny. And while there will inevitably come calls for Mr Johnson to be anointed now, it is, in many respects, even more important that an alternative candidate emerges in the coming days who can provide a necessary challenge to the ex-Mayor of London. For the whole country’s sake, it is far better that Mr Johnson is put to the test now before he is entrusted with the keys of 10 Downing Street.