Boris Johnson the victim of 'unwarranted' leak on NHS, says father

Stanley Johnson has defended his son Boris, who was rebuked by Theresa May this week when his plans to use a cabinet meeting to pitch for more funding for the NHS following Brexit were leaked.

Johnson Sr told Australia’s Radio National breakfast programme that although his son, the foreign secretary, would like to secure more money for the NHS after Britain exits the European Union, he had not wanted his wishes to be made public.

He said the row was “not actually of his making” and that Boris was having to live with the “unwarranted” leak.

Earlier in the week Johnson was accused by senior Conservative colleagues of playing into the hands of political opponents after friends were widely quoted revealing his plans to use the cabinet meeting to demand extra funding for the NHS after Brexit.

In comments widely seen as a dressing down of the foreign secretary, an official spokesman for Theresa May said: “The prime minister and a large number of cabinet ministers made the point that cabinet discussions should take place in private.”

When asked whether his son would be the next prime minister, Johnson Sr said: “I think Boris is doing a superb job as foreign secretary.

“To the best of my knowledge and belief the row … to do with the NHS was not actually of his making. He had no wish as it were to go public with that private view. His view was that yes it does need more money but he did not intend to fight that in public before the cabinet discussion.

“That was to the best of my knowledge ... an unwarranted leak and he is living with that,” Johnson said.

Returning to the question about his son’s ambitions, Johnson Sr said: “Now will he be prime minister? That is another question altogether. I have a lot of children out there, some of them are in the government at the moment. Who knows. Mrs May is firmly there, she is committed.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Nicola Slawson, for theguardian.com on Thursday 25th January 2018 05.45 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010