Downing Street has rebuked Theresa May over an accusation that Boris Johnson has abandoned Britain’s position of “global moral leadership”.
May used a Daily Mail article saying that while the UK was well placed to play a decisive role in shaping a more co-operative world, she suggested it had not been helped by her successor’s actions.
Number 10 said Britain would “continue to be a leading voice on the international stage” under Johnson’s leadership.
Asked about his predecessor’s remarks, the prime minister’s official spokesman said: “I would reject that characterisation.
“The UK is and will continue to be an outward-looking nation and will continue to be a leading voice on the international stage.”
Asked about May’s scathing assessment of the government’s performance on the world stage, home secretary Priti Patel told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I fundamentally disagree with that, particularly as this government has been speaking out against regimes complicit in all sorts of dreadful behaviours.
“Look at the work we are doing in Hong Kong right now to protect British nationals overseas – that absolutely speaks to actions. Actions speak louder than words.
“We are out there constantly when universal rules are being flouted openly when it comes to autocratic activities.”