Iain Duncan Smith: People underestimate Boris Johnson

Friday, February 14, 2020

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith has warned people not to confuse Boris Johnson’s “public persona” with his “inner core” after the shock resignation of Sajid Javid as Chancellor amid yesterday's Cabinet reshuffle.

These are his views and not talkRADIO’s.

Anybody that tells you they weren’t astonished or surprised by a resignation at the beginning of a Cabinet reshuffle is either a liar or a charlatan. We were all astonished.

Anything to do with a Chancellor is a big story. They are always the dynamic in UK politics and it’s because the Treasury, in a funny sort of way, more than almost any other country, wields enormous power. Far too much in my book.

They are I think quite often a negative force and the result is the clashes between Downing Street trying to get a reputation, get their agenda done and the Treasury, that becomes a power base for a Chancellor, is often quite difficult.

So I think that what happened yesterday was probably, in general terms, that Downing Street was determined to bring it to heel.

People underestimate what Boris Johnson wants, all the hair ruffling and the jokey demeanour, people think that Boris is just an easy-going character who doesn’t really have a clear idea of where he’s going – that couldn’t be further from the truth.

He does have a very, very clear idea of what he wants; he doesn’t like it when people set out to frustrate that process.

All the talk is of [senior adviser Dominic] Cummings today, and it’s true, Cummings wanted to run this in this way, but it is also very much Boris Johnson’s agenda.

Throughout the last three years, the Treasury, in any Brexiteer’s book, but particularly in Boris’s and Cummings’s idea, the Treasury has genuinely set out frustrate, they think, the whole Brexit process and they don’t want that as we go into this really critical year of negotiating.

They do not want to have a split or a division at all between Number 11 and Number 10.

Do not confuse the public persona of the Prime Minister with the inner core of the Prime Minister. The inner core of the Prime Minister is very ambitious, very strong, very determined and wants his way.

If that means shaking up the civil service, if that means shaking up the Cabinet, if that means sacking people getting rid of them, watch that space because this is what’s going to happen and I’m convinced the man I know is now beginning to let the world know just how determined he really is and people around him will share that or they will go.

Read more

Government reshuffle: Sajid Javid resigns as Chancellor

Iain Duncan Smith: Next Brexit phase ‘most difficult of all’

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