A former Conservative foreign secretary has dismissed the idea Boris Johnson and Philip Hammond were plotting to oust Theresa May after the June General Election.
Reports emerged on Sunday of a text message exchange between Phillip Hammond and Boris Johnson on the night of the vote, when the results were coming in.
The Sunday Times claimed the Chancellor told the Foreign Secretary he would back him to become Prime Minister, which Johnson apparently told his friends.
The newspaper claimed Hammond is one of four Cabinet ministers who plotted for Theresa May's departure on the night, which saw the Tory majority destroyed with a hung Parliament result.
But Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who ran the foreign office under Margeret Thatcher and John Major, said this story is by no means new.
He told Julia Hartley-Brewer: "It’s a revelation - so-called - of something obvious.
"If the story is correct - let’s assume it is - it means in the hours after we knew we’d lost the majority, there had to be a question around how the Prime Minister would respond.
"It happened in the hours after the general election when – I presume – none of them knew if Theresa May wanted to continue or not.
"So far as one can tell, this wasn’t a plot to overthrow her, it was what happens if she chooses to resign as David Cameron had done.
"This is all trying to construct a great house out of rotten materials. There’s nothing there."