Ken Clarke: "Boris Wouldn’t Be Foreign Sec In Normal Circumstances"

27 October 2016, 17:06 | Updated: 27 October 2016, 17:17

Ken Clarke

The veteran MP told Iain Dale that Theresa May wouldn't have given Boris the job if she hadn't been forced to.

Ken Clarke thinks that the uncertainty created around Brexit allowed Boris Johnson to slip into the major cabinet position of Foreign Secretary.

"I wouldn't have made Boris Johnson foreign secretary, obviously, but neither would Theresa if she hadn't taken over in these circumstances.

"But Boris is someone of the stature and intellectual capacity to be a very good foreign secretary, if he determines that's what he wants to do."

Mr Clarke clearly admires Johnson and believes he would be better suited going into a smaller role where he could prove himself as a minister.

"I would have put Boris Johnson not in the Foreign Office, but in some big, substantial, domestic department... Communities and Local Government or something."

The interview with Iain Dale saw Mr Clarke touch on the big issues facing the Conservative party right now. On Brexit he said:

"We're living in a strange political vacuum where very little sensible debate on the subject is taking place. The government plainly has not yet got a policy.

"I think Theresa is very wise to shut up making policy announcements until she's got thought through policies."

On Theresa May's approach to negotiating Britain's exit from the EU:

"She's going to need to be a bloody difficult woman. But I do think she can't suspend parliamentary accountability for the next three or four years."

On the economic consequences of Brexit:

"Every set of economic statistics of every kind... is being interpreted with cries of joy from one side or the other."

"We won't know the actual consequences of Brexit for 10, 20 years."

On the Richmond Park by-election triggered by the resignation of Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith:

"If you stuck up a Conservative you'd have a great row over whether it was a Brexit Conservative or a Remain Conservative. In the current neurotic conditions we're in at the moment the by-election would rapidly descend into quite a complicated farce."

Listen to the whole interview here: