An ally of Boris Johnson has pleaded with senior Tories to stop undermining the foreign secretary with public jibes.
Tory MP Jake Berry told critics of Johnson to stop “sniping from the comfort of Whitehall” and back the Cabinet minister, the Press Association reported.
He spoke out about the attacks on Johnson, amid concerns among they are damaging the reputation of the foreign secretary around the world.
Boris’ appointment to the role earlier this year caused much surprise around the world and prompted many to crack jokes about the former mayor of London.
In recent weeks prime minister Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond have also publicly poked fun at him.
Rossendale and Darwen MP Berry’s defence of Johnson came after the Foreign Secretary visited Afghanistan for the first time.
Berry told the Mail on Sunday: “Boris has spent this weekend in Afghanistan, one of the most dangerous countries in the world.
“And what are his armchair critics doing? Sniping from the comfort of Whitehall.
“They need to get behind him if Britain is going to succeed with Brexit.”
Johnson has been holding talks with Afghan president Ashraf Ghani and chief executive Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul, as well as visiting the British Cemetery ithere to pay tribute at a memorial to the 456 UK servicemen and women who lost have their lives in the country since 2001.
Berry’s comments echo those of Paul Goodman, the former Tory MP who is now editor of the ConservativeHome website.
He wrote in the Daily Telegraph last week: “Mr Johnson is used to being asked to knock off the jokes. But the same request should now be made of the Prime Minister, at least as far as those at his expense are concerned.”
The PM used her Conservative Party conference speech to joke “can Boris Johnson stay on message for a full four days? Just about”.
At a recent awards ceremony the Prime Minister also teased him after he had joked about Lord Heseltine “throttling” his dog.
May said: “Boris, the dog was put down ... when its master decided it wasn’t needed any more.”
Hammond made a barbed reference to Johnson’s aborted leadership campaign as he delivered his Autumn Statement in the Commons.
“I suspect that I will prove no more adept at pulling rabbits from hats than my successor as Foreign Secretary has been at retrieving balls from the back of scrums,” Hammond said - a reference to Johnson’s previous comments about his leadership ambitions that “if the ball came loose at the back of the scrum” he would pick it up.