May dodges questions over ‘unsackable’ Johnson

The Prime Minister refused to confirm whether the Foreign Secretary was unsackable from her Government, as Conservative Party members prepare to hear from Mr Johnson later on Tuesday.

Speaking to Sky News’ Sunrise, Mrs May revealed the Foreign Secretary’s speech has been looked at before he addresses delegates in Manchester.

It comes after Mr Johnson’s recent interventions over Brexit appeared to have been delivered without the authority of 10 Downing Street.

Asked twice whether she is unable to get rid of her Foreign Secretary, the Prime Minister said: You keep asking me about Boris and Boris’s job.

Actually for the people watching this programme I think what they want is a Government that’s focused on their jobs, on their futures, on their children’s’ futures and that’s what we’re talking about here at this conference.

It has been suggested Mrs May might be reluctant to remove Mr Johnson from her Cabinet due to the possibility of him launching a leadership bid from the backbenches.

:: Sky Views: The PM can’t sack Boris Johnson

Quizzed as to whether the Foreign Secretary represented a threat to her premiership, the Prime Minister said: What Boris is going to be doing today at the conference is setting out what our plans are for a global Britain, how optimistic we are about what we can achieve as a country once we leave the EU.

He and I are both ambitious and optimistic about the opportunities for global Britain and Boris will be talking about those at the conference today.

On the eve of the conference, Mr Johnson set out his red lines for Brexit, including saying that a planned transition period after March 2019 should last not a second more than two years.

It was the second major Brexit intervention in two weeks, after he published a 4,000-word article in The Daily Telegraph outlining his vision for Britain after it leaves the EU.

On Monday night, Mr Johnson seemed to step back from his red lines over Brexit.

The Foreign Secretary told the BBC the Cabinet are totally united behind every comma, every full stop, every syllable of the Prime Minister’s recent speech in Florence, in which she added further detail to her Brexit plans.

Earlier, Chancellor Philip Hammond insisted no minister is unsackable as he urged Mr Johnson to demonstrate unity as negotiations with Brussels intensify.

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