Was a Boris Johnson-led Foreign Office ever really going to work? More importantly, what happens if May accepts defeat from critics of her cabinet choices?
Theresa May’s first controversial decision was to appoint the former London Mayor as the head of her government’s foreign policy. For a time, we could muster a forced optimism.
That optimism is now dwindling.
Having arrived at the Foreign Office off the back of insulting global leaders of the East and West, including the incumbent and future President of the U.S., Johnson initially managed to keep a low profile.
Now, he seems to have outdone himself. Falling out over Prosecco with the Italian Foreign Minister. Making assumptions about his government’s direction with the Czechs. And now, having his arguments over the Saudis ‘misconstrued’. A Johnson Foreign Policy has become dangerously unhinged.
May’s diplomatic experiment of a Secretary Johnson has failed. Now, her options are limited on what to do about it.
At a time when stability is crucial in the face of cabinet disagreement, and the ascendancy of both Nuttall and Oldney, the PM can’t afford further instability by sacking Johnson. Neither however, can she afford for her government to become even more of an international laughing stock than it already is.
Her decision is going to be tough. Her movements are severly constrained.
As things stand, at least her government is safe from one party: Labour. Official opposition at present seems to be from a party that poses the lest threat to May’s stability.
Nothing should be taken for granted, however. If another leadership election against Corbyn is successful, she will face a three-pronged attack ranging from the right to the left. Presently, her government does not seem strong enough to take it.