Boris Johnson has thrown his party’s conference into “mayhem” by making disloyal speeches and inappropriate comments, according to Ken Clarke.
The Tory grandee said Johnson, who is facing calls for his sacking after making a joke about “clearing dead bodies” in Libya to make the war-torn country more attractive to investors, had “brought criticism on himself”.
Clarke said the remarks, picked up by media across the globe, were the latest in a pattern of behaviour that had “made life impossible” for Theresa May.
He told BBC 5live’s Emma Barnett: “He made a very disloyal speech just before [the prime minister’s speech in] Florence, a very disloyal speech just before conference and he’s turned the conference into mayhem.
“Anybody looking from outside, I am not surprised they are somewhat puzzled by state of the government.”
Clarke hinted that in “normal times” Johnson would probably have already been sacked from the frontbench, but said Theresa May may have deemed it more sensible to keep him in the cabinet.
“With any luck you can get him to concentrate on his brief,” he added.
“I don’t think he looks as though he’s going to resign, because although he has got some fanatic followers among the headbanger Euro-sceptics, I think his support if he did resign would be minuscule inside the Parliamentary Conservative party and I think the wider party as well.
“Boris has done himself enormous harm. He should go away and find out something about foreign policy, and try to be foreign secretary.”
A Downing Street spokesman said Johnson’s comments were “not appropriate”, but that would be the “end of the matter”.