Boris Johnson deserves to sacked as foreign secretary for his public campaigning on Brexit, Ken Clarke has said.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Today programme this morning, Clarke said the only reason Johnson was still in post was because Theresa May was so weak.
“In any normal circumstances he would have been sacked the day after,” he said.
May and Johnson are set for an awkward reunion in New York, as both attend the United Nations General Assembly following days of headlines about government infighting over Brexit.
The prime minister flew in late on Monday evening after a visit to Canada during which she was forced to fight off claims that Johnson had become a “back-seat driver” in her Cabinet.
After the foreign secretary published a 4,000-word personal vision for Brexit, May attempted to stamp her authority on the situation with a firm declaration: “This government is driven from the front.”
Clarke, the veteran pro-EU Tory MP said today: “Personal publicity and campaigning by the foreign secretary is actually just an irrelevant nuisance.
“Sounding off personally in this way is totally unhelpful, and he should not exploit the fact that she has not got a majority in parliament and he knows perfectly well that, although normally a foreign secretary would be sacked instantly for doing that.
“She unfortunately after the general election is not in a position to sack him. But he should stop exploiting it.”
Clarke also tore into Johnson for repeating the “simplistic and dishonest” claim made by “hardline leavers” during the referendum campaign that leaving the EU would allow the UK to spend an extra £350m on the NHS.
Speaking in New York yesterday, Johnson side-stepped a question on whether he would resign if he did not get his way, saying: “You are barking slightly up the wrong tree here.”