Boris Johnson’s continued presence in the cabinet has gone on long enough. Once the next Boris Johnson controversy happens, May should not be afraid to show him the door.
Boris Johnson has been the source of much controversy in recent months, and has even been labelled as potentially unsackable by numerous political commentators (such as the Economist). Johnson has gotten away with things other high-profile government figures would not have been able to do. The problem with May sacking Johnson now is that she would be accused of making the move “too little too late” and only having done so due to pressure over the foreign secretary’s next gaffe.
Theresa May appears to be far too weak to give him the sack. Nonetheless, Johnson needs to go – here are six reasons why.
1. Brexit disunity
In September, Johnson was criticised for allegedly causing division within the cabinet over Brexit. According to the BBC, the accusations came following a lengthy Telegraph article in which he laid out his own version of Brexit Britain.
2. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
The story of Boris Johnson’s comments in relation to the British women Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe being held in Iran has dominated the news cycle in recent weeks. According to Politico, Johnson had said that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been in the country to “train journalists” when she was there for holidaying purposes.
Johnson has since apologised, and made a statement in the Commons saying that:
"The British Government has no doubt that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in Iran on holiday and that was the sole purpose of her visit."
Too little too late.
3. The Sirte incident
At the start of October, Johnson said that the Libyan city of Sirte could be turned “into the next Dubai” and that “The only thing they’ve got to do is clear the dead bodies,” according to a report from Sky News. His controversial remarks were followed by calls to Theresa May to have Johnson sacked, as reported by the Guardian.
4. The colonial poem
Like with the Sirte incident, there was a significant backlash against the foreign secretary for his comments.
5. The public want him sacked
A YouGov poll (7th – 8th November) recently suggested that a plurality of voters want Boris Johnson sacked. 44% said the foreign secretary should be replaced, 26% said he should stay, and the rest said they did not know.
Even the public seem to want Boris gone, and Theresa May should take advantage of this.
6. To take advantage of his fall in ratings with Conservatives
Another recent YouGov poll (9th – 10th November) suggests that Johnson’s net approval rating amongst Conservative voters has taken a sizeable tumble in the past couple of months. Johnson is often viewed as a grassroots favourite, but with falling support amongst those in his own party, the backlash against sacking him would be minimised.