Theresa May attacks Boris Johnson for ‘shattering’ public trust in MPs

Theresa May has accused Boris Johnson of “shattering” trust in MPs as she attacked him over the Partygate scandal and the number of peerages he handed to allies and associates.

The former Tory prime minister also revealed who she blamed for her Brexit failures – criticising hardline Brexiteers and Remainers and lambasting ex-speaker John Bercow for denying her a crucial vote.

Ms May also blamed the “disappointing” 2017 election result on Labour-voting Brexiteers and the fact that Jeremy Corbyn had not shown “quite sufficient negativity to Brexit” to persuade the red wall to switch to the Tories.

The ex-leader criticised Mr Johnson for presiding over the Partygate saga, which saw him fined and eventually forced out by his own party last summer.

“The idea that there has been one rule for the public and another for MPs provokes public cynicism and leads increasingly to the charge of hypocrisy,” Ms May wrote in an extract from her new book published in The Sunday Times.

She added: “In other words, why should we do what you say when you don’t do it yourself? Above all, it shatters any sense that MPs are leaders in society.”

Ms May did not mention Mr Johnson in her interview with the newspaper, but she did suggest that his successor had given too many peerages in his controversial resignation honours.

“I think there is a need for prime ministers to think very carefully about the numbers that they’re putting into the Lords,” she said. It comes as the Lords authorities are in the process of assessing Liz Truss’s resignation honours.

Asked about Brexit, Ms May, who voted Remain in the 2016 referendum, said she had struggled to convince Brexiteers of her motivations – saying they “found it difficult to think that a Remainer would actually deliver Brexit”.

She said that her failure to get a deal on Britain’s exit from the EU through parliament was due to people putting personal interests above those of the country. “It became this atmosphere of both Brexiteers and Remainers trying to get what was their absolute aim, rather than a compromise that would better suit everybody.”

Ms May also attacked Mr Bercow, the former speaker who has spoken out against Brexit since leaving his role, for denying her a crucial vote at a time when the DUP in Northern Ireland were sympathetic to an agreement.

“We got to a point where the DUP were being positive,” she wrote in her book. “[Mr Bercow] wouldn’t let us put the motion down. So that meant we couldn’t have the debate, we couldn’t have the vote, and by the time we did, the DUP had changed [their mind].

“And so there was a point [where] we could have had a vote to do Brexit on the basis of the deal. He took a decision that meant that didn’t go ahead.”

The former prime minister lost her majority at the 2017 general election, and was forced to rely on the DUP in the painful aftermath. She said the “disappointing” result was down to Labour Brexiteers.

“What we hadn’t realised is [that the Labour leader Jeremy] Corbyn hadn’t shown quite sufficient negativity to Brexit that the Labour Leave voters decided to switch [to the Tories], which they did of course by 2019.”

Ms May also revealed why she was photographed holding Donald Trump’s hand in 2017. “I mean, he sort of said, ‘Oh, there’s a slope so you need to be careful on the slope.’

“Now whether this is because Melania always wears very high heels or not, I don’t know … I thought, ‘I’m capable of walking down a slope, thank you very much.’”

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