Polly Mackenzie said Boris Johnson is now losing his shine
Polly Mackenzie, the former advisor to Nick Clegg, expressed her doubts about Boris Johnson’s popularity.
The Foreign Secretary has been at the centre of a series of gaffes and controversies since his appointment to Cabinet.
He was accused of undermining Theresa May’s authority by releasing an article in The Telegraph before the Prime Minister’s all-important Florence Speech in which he set out his own vision for Brexit.
Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark asked if Theresa May would like to get rid of Boris Johnson if she could, whether she can contain him more inside than out of Cabinet, and if he is still revered by Party members.
Ms Mackenzie said: “I don’t think he is still revered. I think a lot of the shine has come off Boris as that kind of great figure of fun who might be the witty, standard bearer for conservatism.
“Lots of people who admired Boris for that now have shifted to thinking Jacob Rees-Mogg as that Have I Got News For You, friendly Tory.”
It comes as the Foreign Secretary made a gaffe which critics claim lengthened the detention for a British woman, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, in Iran.
Mr Johnson has faced calls to quit after telling a committee of MPs last week that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was training journalists in Iran at the time of her arrest last year, something her employer and her family insist is incorrect and could be used to increase her sentence.
Richard Ratcliffe, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband said that Mr Johnson should make a statement in Parliament to correct his mistake in an effort to prevent the sentence being lengthened.
But in the Commons, Mr Johnson said the UK Government “has no doubt that she was on holiday” in Iran and that was the sole purpose of her visit.
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In a statement released by the Foreign Office earlier, a spokesman did not offer any correction, saying instead that Mr Johnson’s comments may have been “misrepresented” and they provide “no justifiable basis” for additional charges.
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is serving a five-year sentence in an Iranian jail, was summoned to an unscheduled court hearing last weekend at which Mr Johnson’s remarks were cited as proof that she had been engaged in “propaganda against the regime”.
Reports suggest the new charge could add five years to her prison term, imposed over unspecified allegations of involvement in a supposed coup attempt against the Tehran regime, which she denies.
Boris Johnson has been under fire for his comments about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
The political editor for The Sun, Tom Newton Dunn, said: “I don’t think this is going to get Boris. And I will happily put my hat on the table and eat it when it’s made of marzipan at some later stage.
“He screwed up, no doubt about it he made things worse. But it is still the Iranians who are doing this.
“The Iranians are hooding three-year-old children when they go meet their mother, who’s also hooded. And I think as time elapses people will realise they are using his idiocy to make matters worse for their own pretty despicable ends.”
Tom Newton Dunn does not think Boris Johnson is finished because of the gaffe
When asked if Mr Johnson is safe until a major reshuffle, Special Correspondent for the New Statesman, Stephen Bush, said: “I think he’s safe until Theresa May goes.
“You can’t have a Foreign Secretary whose idiocy makes it easier for the Iranians, or indeed any nation, to endanger British citizens.
“I mean, that is surely in the job description not to do that.“