Boris Johnson is ‘no Churchill’ and has the most ‘dismal’ cabinet in 36 years, longtime Tory politician Sir Nicholas Soames has said.
Soames – whose grandfather was wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churhchill – delivered a scathing analysis of the Johnson’s time in office.
In an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Soames brushed away any comparisons between Johnson and his grandfather, who the prime minister is believed to admire.
‘He’s got to be given some time. He’s very clever,’ the Tory former MP said.
‘But the question is, can he take us from A to B? I don’t know yet. So is he a Churchill?
‘Certainly not, no one ever will be again, we’re all shaped by our lives. Churchill’s determination and fighting spirit was gained in fighting in all over the empire as a young man and you can’t replace that. I don’t think we’ll ever, ever seen a Churchill again.’
Soames, now 72, was one of 21 Tory MPs who had the whip removed for rebelling against the government’s Brexit plans last year and stood down from his seat before the 2019 December election.
Although he claims to hold no hard feelings against Johnson, the former member for Mid Sussex said the PM’s choice of ministers has let him down.
‘I’ve never seen such an absolutely dismal cabinet. It’s the worst cabinet in my 36 years, also elected solely for the purpose of facing Brexit to get it done,’ he said.
‘It’s got some very average people. I don’t see how you really challenge and you can’t really challenge anything. That’s the trouble.’
He said Britain’s potential departure from EU trade talks without a deal was ‘very bad news’ for Britons.
‘I think the government’s calculation now is that the economic situation is so incredibly serious anyway, that the Brexit damage will just be a comma, just be a footnote. I don’t agree with that. I think this is all fundamental.’
He added: ‘My argument about the European Union and Britain is that it is inconceivable to me that people don’t understand that we are part of Europe. The EU was a force multiplier for Britain, we were able through the mechanism of the European Union, working with our friends and allies, nearly always to find a way to get our views across.’
‘I think that a much wiser, more thoughtful country would not have done what we’ve done. We as a country have become less wise and less thoughtful.’
Soames said Europhile MPs were also to blame for Brexit.
‘[When] we joined the European Union, all those people who were deeply committed to Europe, who succeeded in getting this done, then just went on with doing their jobs. You never heard anyone, did you? I mean, how many speeches did you hear in this country of people supporting the European Union? Never. No one ever.’
‘We just took it for granted.’