BOJO’s POWER GRAB: As Theresa May refuses to say she would sack Boris, he mounts another power grab
BORIS Johnson revealed he has mounted a fresh Whitehall power grab after Theresa May ducked a major Brexit confrontation with him.
The weak Prime Minister refused to shoot down the four Brexit red line demands from her rebellious Foreign Secretary and he laid bare in an interview with The Sun.
The row overshadowed Day One of the Tories’ annual conference in Manchester, she was slammed for even refusing to deny he was “unsackable” from the Cabinet.
Asked as he arrived at the conference if he was “right behind Theresa May”, Mr Johnson answered: “Of course”. But it is reported that he has told friends he thinks weakened Mrs May will not last another year in power.
In a move that will spark a fresh furore today, Boris told The Sun that he wants Britain’s aid ministry to become part of his Foreign Office empire again.
Winning back control over the Department for International Development and its £13billion budget will be seen as a bid by Boris to expand his powerbase.
Mr Johnson, accused by some Tory MPs of being “on manoeuvres” to oust the PM, called the decision to divide the two “a colossal mistake”.
Mr Johnson said: “It was a colossal mistake in the 1990s to divide DFID from the Foreign Office”.
Explaining his move, Boris added: “If we are going to be in this great global campaigner for free trade, then we have got to maximise the value of overseas engagements.
“Priti and I are now working much more closely with our departments.
“We now have double-hatted ministers, and are basically trying to bring the Foreign Office and DFID back together”.
Boris’s laying out of his four Brexit red lines were seen as a fresh challenge to Mrs May’s authority.
But she and her senior Cabinet allies went out of their way not to criticise him by name, for fear of stirring up a revolt from Brexiteers and the Tory right.
Asked on BBC1 Andrew Marr Show if Boris was now “unsackable”, Mrs May ducked giving any straight answer to instead say: “You talk about Boris’s job, you talk about my job.
“I think the people watching this programme are actually interested in what we’re going to do for their jobs and their futures.”
The PM also repeatedly refused to rule out Boris’s demand that Britain should refuse to accept any new EU laws during the two year-long transition period after Brexit in March 2019.
Mrs May would only say: “The point is we’re going into a negotiation. What I have is a cabinet that are united”.
Referring to her Brexit speech in Italy last week, she went on: “I had a Cabinet meeting before my Florence speech.
“Everybody agreed that the position the United Kingdom is taking was absolutely the right one.”
She continued: “Boris is absolutely behind the speech and the line we have taken.”