‘Embarrassing buffoon’ Boris Johnson blasted by former deputy in published diary entries

Liam O'Dell@LiamODellUK
Saturday 03 April 2021 10:03
Politics
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Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, has been described as an “embarrassing buffoon” by a former MP who served as his deputy in the Foreign Office.

Ex-Rutland and Melton MP Sir Alan Duncan served as minister for Europe and the Americas for three years until July 2019, leaving the Commons ahead of the last general election.

In the memoir, titled In The Thick of It, Duncan claims his former boss “despises” then-PM Theresa May and that he “seems to have embarked on a reckless journey into oblivion”.

“He is a clown, a self-centred ego, an embarrassing buffoon, with an untidy mind and sub-zero diplomatic judgement. He is an international stain on our reputation. He is a lonely, selfish, ill-disciplined, shambolic, shameless clot,” writes Duncan, in an extract from September 2017 shared in the Daily Mail on Saturday.

It isn’t the first time that Duncan has been critical of Johnson, telling the BBC’s Laura Kuennsberg that he was worried by the “fly by the seats of his pants, haphazard” nature of his colleague, fearing that he could go “smack into a crisis of government”.

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In another entry, dated 29 March 2017, Duncan talks of a conversation he had with Kwasi Kwarteng, now business secretary, on the Parliamentary estate.

“He says Boris doesn’t appreciate that diplomacy is not about having nice conversations with your friends: it’s about how you engage with those who are awkward,” says Duncan.

The ex-frontbencher also takes aim at other prominent Tory figures, including former prime ministers David Cameron and Theresa May.

“[Cameron] was prone to being glib [and] drew his appointments from too narrow a bunch of close associates,” he writes, in an entry from September 2016.

Writing about May, he describes the Maidenhead MP as a “cardboard cut-out” and said her social skills are “sub-zero”.

Duncan also labels Priti Patel, the home secretary, “The Wicked Witch of Witham”, and calls Michael Gove, the cabinet secretary, “an unctuous freak who generates his own publicity”.

“[He is] a wacky weirdo who is both unappealing and untrustworthy. God help us if he is thought to be the answer to our woes,” he says in June 2017.

In The Thick of It is due to be published on 15 April this year.

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