GMB: Andrew Neil recalls working with Boris Johnson
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The Prime Minister remains in office after the resignation of two senior ministers on Tuesday night triggered a series of walkouts. In a slight reordering of events, Michael Gove was last night sacked for disloyalty, but the tables have since returned to pole position with Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis this morning taking exit.
Continental newspapers appear to have been enjoying the fallout of Mr Johnson’s administration.
German paper WELT this morning marked “the end of an eccentric”, insisting the “scandalous” leader has no choice but to leave.
A comment piece on the publication’s website argued that the Prime Minister “lacks integrity” and is set to be pulled down by a “constant flow” of errors.
Correspondent Stefanie Bolzen’s article was sympathetic to the Britain’s parliamentary system, if not to its current incumbent.
She wrote: “The Prime Minister of the oldest and most permanent democracy in the world has repeatedly tried to cover up the lack of this integrity with half-truths, if not bare lies.”
The journalist added: “It is also tragic that the relationship between British and Europeans has been the victim of Johnson’s nefarious Brexit ignition.
“Confidence in the British Prime Minister in Europe’s capitals is at zero because of its tactics.”
In France, Le Figaro this morning joked that “the Johnson house is burning”.
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Where there has been the opportunity for a quick witticism, the foreign press has taken it.
French radio station France Inter yesterday headlined its bulletin with “Storm in Shakespeare-land”.
It said disaster had struck Mr Johnson’s office after “countless scandals based on alcohol, wandering hands and lies”.
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Italian paper La Stampa yesterday added that Mr Johnson was “facing the deepest crisis since winning the 2019 general elections”.
Despite all this, few of the papers could say for certain whether the Prime Minister’s time was actually up.
In Belgium, VRT NWS broadcaster Ivan Ollevier noted that Mr Johnson “always seems to get away with it”.
He added: “I don’t like to make predictions, but we are witnessing a government that is collapsing in slow motion.”
A writer in Spain’s La Vanguardia joked that the Tory leader “will nail himself to his desk chair if need be”.
But, tellingly, he concluded: “His position is more precarious than ever.
“As Hemingway said, one goes bust gradually, and then suddenly.”
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