He should not have been making such injudicious remarks in any public forum – all Ministers are supposedly bound by the doctrine of collective responsibility – and showed remarkable naivety if he expected his remarks to Conservative activists to stay private in a week that saw Brexit Secretary David Davis threaten to resign.
This disloyalty shows why Mr Johnson is not cut out to be Prime Minister despite his ambition. Too divisive, he’s so bereft of diplomacy skills that it is doubtful that he should still be in the Cabinet, never mind as Foreign Secretary.
That he was not sacked – others have been fired by past premiers for far less serious breaches of discipline – reflects the invidiousness of Mrs May’s current position one year after losing her majority in the election.
Not only is she having to negotiate with the EU over the terms of the country’s exit from the European Union, and the future shape of trade policy, but she’s having to do so while leading a divided Cabinet with senior Ministers, like Mr Johnson, intent on settling scores with colleagues rather than making a positive, pragmatic and practical contribution to the biggest Government upheaval since Britain joined the then EEC.
However it’s a task which has become even harder after Mr Johnson went rogue – yet again – and suggested that President Donald Trump would have made a better fist of the negotiations with his belligerence before claiming that the Treasury, the guardian of the nation’s finances, was “basically the heart of Remain” and that concerns over the Northern Ireland border were “pure Millennium bug stuff”.
If this is the case, why has Mr Johnson – a leader of the Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum – not reconciled any of the issues which appear to be proving so troublesome for Mrs May? Or is he, as many will conclude, solely interested in promoting himself, and making mischief for the Government, because he has little to offer?