Tory peer: Boris Johnson said job as foreign secretary was like being in a ‘steel condom’

Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has said Boris Johnson described his tenure as Foreign Secretary as being “imprisoned in a steel condom”.

Mr Johnson became Foreign Secretary in 2016 and resigned in 2018 over Theresa May’s Brexit plans, but not before he drew criticism for making comments, according to Richard Ratcliffe, ‘allowing a propaganda campaign” against his Anglo-Iranian wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who was detained in Tehran.

Speaking to LBC’s Iain Dale at a recent Edinburgh Fringe event, Baroness Davidson said: ‘He once described being Foreign Secretary to me as being locked in a steel condom. I thought that was weird because I didn’t ask him.

I never heard that as a phrase…it would definitely affect performance…

Ruth Davidson

“I think he meant the amount of attention he got from the officials to make sure he didn’t say anything. Imprisoned in a steel condom, that’s what he said,” she added, in remarks reported by the Daily Telegraph.

“I’ve never heard that as a phrase…it would definitely affect performance, but that’s not my area of ​​expertise as I think you’ve already covered it.”

Baroness Davidson resigned from the leadership of the Scottish Conservatives in August 2019 shortly after Mr Johnson became Prime Minister and received a lifetime peerage in the House of Lords in July 2021.

The 43-year-old has been unafraid to criticize Mr Johnson, including early last month saying it was ‘absolute nonsense’ for him to stay on until a new leader be elected.

Meanwhile Downing Street has signaled it is still committed to helping a parliamentary inquiry into whether Mr Johnson lied to MPs about the lockdown parties at No 10.

The Prime Minister’s key allies have attacked the Commons Privileges Committee inquiry, calling it a “witch hunt”.

It follows reports that a number of committee members – including some Tories – made public comments critical of Mr Johnson’s conduct during the partygate scandal.

However, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said No 10 was ready to help the committee with its inquiries – and could continue to do so after Mr Johnson steps down next month.

Baroness Davidson said in July it was ‘absurd’ that Boris Johnson would stay at No 10 until a new leader was elected (Jane Barlow/PA)

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The spokesperson also defended Mr Johnson’s holiday with his wife, Carrie, in Slovenia amid criticism that he was ‘missing in action’ during the cost of living crisis.

“I think the public understands that it’s not unusual for the prime minister – for ministers – to take time off during the summer holidays,” they said.

The spokesperson added that the trip did not involve the use of taxpayers’ money, but declined to say whether Mr Johnson – who is now back in Downing Street – paid for it himself .

“No taxpayer money was used for this. It was a private party. All statements will be made as necessary,” they said.

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