Boris Johnson Just Won't Go Away Quietly
How do you solve a problem like Boris Johnson?
Prime Minister Theresa May has to find a way of neutering her former foreign secretary, who barrels into Birmingham today looking to hijack her Conservative Party conference with a rousing speech to the grassroots that will smack of a leadership challenge.
He hasn’t exactly been subtle. There was a 4,600-word essay on his Brexit plan – he called hers “deranged” – followed by a media blitz. There was even some top-notch trolling with a photo of him recreating what May once described as her “naughtiest” moment: running through a field of wheat.
Bluster aside, the bigger question is whether he has enough support among his peers. May is struggling to generate enthusiasm for her Brexit plans. But Johnson is an increasingly divisive figure among the fellow lawmakers he’d need in sufficient numbers to bring May down. Many are tired of his antics.
“Boris isn’t a serious candidate,’’ Business Minister Richard Harrington said in an interview. “People laugh at old-fashioned English eccentricity, they laugh at Latin, they laugh at jokes, but they don’t want it in a leader.”
As for May, her team is moving fast to try and stop Boris from hogging the limelight. Plans for a post-Brexit immigration system were unveiled overnight and she was doing the rounds on television this morning.
Asked if she was even on speaking terms with Boris anymore, the prime minister laughed weakly. She conceded his speech would be a “lively event.”
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And finally ... Emmanuel Macron was snapped with two young men – one a convicted criminal, the other giving his finger to the camera – during a visit to France’s hurricane-battered island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean. The photos created a tempest of their own back home, where Nationalist Marine Le Pen struggled to express the scale of her anger. “France certainly doesn’t deserve this. It’s unforgivable!” she said on Twitter. The French president said he’ll meet anyone he wants and loves “every child of the Republic, whatever silly things they do.”
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