Politics, Europe

UK:PM tried to restrict Boris Johnson’s access to intel

Tory frontrunner denies claims that Downing Street attempted to withhold sensitive information when he was foreign secretary

Muhammad Mussa   | 05.07.2019
UK:PM tried to restrict Boris Johnson’s access to intel


British prime minister Theresa May and senior intelligence officials attempted to withhold sensitive information from the former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, media reports said on Friday.

Downing Street and those within the U.K. intelligence community had serious concerns that Johnson, upon becoming the foreign secretary in 2016, would not be able to keep sensitive information confidential, according to a BBC report.

Moreover, the government would hold private meetings and discuss sensitive issues without inviting Johnson due to a lack of trust on May’s behalf regarding Johnson’s ability to withhold certain information.

Tensions have been high between Johnson and May going as far back to when Johnson was the mayor of London and the soon-to-be ex-premier May was home secretary, when Johnson angered May by accidentally revealing confidential information before it was due to be made public.

These attempts to restrict Johnson’s access to intelligence was due to "control freakery" on the part of the government, rather than a lack of trust between the two, and represents a shift in which Downing Street has increasingly taken control of national security.

Johnson -- who is now the Tory favorite to replace May -- has rejected these claims and said he had access to all the information he needed when he was the foreign secretary. Furthermore, Downing Street released a statement that said the government does not comment on intelligence matters and that May’s decision to appoint Johnson as a minister shows the trust she had in him.

"It’s a matter of fact that it was the PM’s decision to appoint Boris Johnson as FS in full knowledge of all the responsibilities that that involves. He did a good job as foreign secretary in his time in the post," the statement from Downing Street read.

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