Boris Johnson seemed to struggle when asked on BBC Radio 4’s PM to explain how plans laid out in the Queen’s Speech would tackle “burning injustices” identified by Prime Minister Theresa May.
The Foreign Secretary repeatedly paused and sighed, saying “hang on a second” a number of times as he was questioned by presenter Eddie Mair on BBC Radio 4’s PM.
Asked what Theresa May’s policy document would do to tackle racial discrimination in the criminal justice system – an issue highlighted by the prime minister last year – Mr Johnson said: “Well there are measures, I believe in the bill on the courts which I think is supposed to address some of those issues.
“I think one thing in particular that we are looking at is measures to … hang on a second … there are all sorts of measures that we want to take to ensure that we do not discriminate against everybody.”
In the background, a shuffling of papers was audible.
Mr Johnson then gave a response that avoided a question about how the speech would help white working class boys attend university.
But when the presenter moved on to mental heath care, the foreign secretary tried to return to the original question.
“It’s not a Two Ronnies sketch,” Mair retorted, “You can’t answer the question before last.”
He went on to ask why so many measured from the Conservative manifesto had been dropped.
Mr Johnson replied: “I’m not going to hide it from you that the election did not turn out exactly as we would have hoped,” he replied. “It’s our job to form a government if we possibly can and to get on with what I think is a very progressive Queen’s speech.”
— John Prescott (@johnprescott) June 21, 2017
But after Mr Mair asked what the point of the prime minister was when she couldn’t solved the “burning injustices” she was so concerned about, or deliver the manifesto promises people voted for, Mr Johnson floundered again.
After failing to answer the question on four occasions, he finally settled on: “The point of the Prime Minister is to lead the country, to give a …er… lead on these key issues …and to take this Queen’s Speech through.
“And she will, and she will do a great job.”
Listeners, including former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, quickly took to social media to criticise Mr Johnson’s performance.
Others compared the interview with those given by Diane Abbott before the election.
The shadow Home Secretary was criticised after she struggled to answer questions in three interviews in the run up to the general election.