Boris Johnson is at the centre of another row within the Conservative party after comparing the prime minister’s Brexit plan to a suicide vest.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, the former foreign secretary said the UK had opened itself to “perpetual political blackmail” with the so-called backstop plan to ensure no hard border in Ireland.
“We have wrapped a suicide vest around the British constitution – and handed the detonator to Michel Barnier,” Johnson said.
The BBC’s Alex Forsyth said the “scathing remarks” by Johnson showed his “willingness to challenge the prime minister remains undimmed” after recent revelations about his private life.
The Guardian, meanwhile, said his comments have led to “open civil war” in the Conservative party, with several senior Tories demanding an end to his increasingly controversial attacks.
Alastair Burt said there can be “no justification for such an outrageous, inappropriate and hurtful analogy” and urged politician to stop “this extraordinary use of language” over Brexit.
Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan described it as “one of the most disgusting moments” in modern British politics. “I’m sorry, but this is the political end of Boris Johnson. If it isn’t now, I will make sure it is later,” he tweeted.
Others, including senior backbencher, Sarah Wollaston, said they would leave the part if Johnson won a leadership bid. “Personally I hope that won’t happen. I don’t think he is fit to lead the country,” she told BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend.
Johnson’s comments came as the Sunday Times revealed that May’s aides have assembled a secret dossier with “lurid allegations” about Boris Johnson’s sex life in an apparent effort to prevent him from becoming prime minister.
With Johnson and his allies “intent on using the party conference to comprehensively derail the Chequers plan, also thus dealing a significant blow to May, the battle lines are set to become further entrenched in the coming weeks,” says The Guardian.