Former Thatcher minister and Tory peer slams Boris Johnson for being ‘not very good’ PM

PUBLISHED: 14:54 03 July 2020 | UPDATED: 14:58 03 July 2020

Prime minister Boris Johnson departs 10 Downing Street; Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Prime minister Boris Johnson departs 10 Downing Street; Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

A former Thatcher minister and presiding Tory peer has called Boris Johnson ‘not a very good’ prime minister, claiming he would not have run a department under government he worked for.

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Lord Norman Tebbit, an ex-secretary of state under Margaret Thatcher’s government, has said the prime minister would not have been promoted past Tory Party chairman if he had risen to prominence in the 80s.

Lord Tebbit held three cabinet positions: party chairman, trade and industry secretary, and employment secretary from 1981 to 1987.

Speaking to the Telegraph, he said: “He [Johnson] might have finished up doing the job which I did at the end which was being party chairman - that is the most likely thing - Boris as party chairman, bringing the party forward, rather than Boris as an executive. I don’t have the highest opinion of Boris as an executive.”

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He then criticised the ousting of Sir Mark Sedwill as cabinet secretary amid reports he was pushed out of the post by Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s chief advisor.

“Boris has to be careful that he doesn’t find it has changed from being a Johnson government to being a Cummings government, and he has changed to be spokesman for Mr Cummings as opposed to the other way around,” he said.

The Tory stalwart agreed that Johnson had surrounded himself with ‘yes men’ and be influenced by senior aides. “The problem is we don’t always know ‘what is Boris’, and ‘what is Mr Cummings’,” he asserted.

Commenting on the civil service, he said: “In my time in government, in Thatcher’s time, we had a better core of professional civil servants. The standard is not quite so high now.”

He then berated what “Johnsonism” was as a political philosophy: “It is about presentation. He is broadly speaking a liberal Conservative but as for his views on economics - they are flexible shall we say.”

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