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Theresa May blasts Boris Johnson for abandoning ‘moral leadership’

Former prime minister hits out at successor over foreign aid and law breaking

Theresa May has declared war against Boris Johnson by publicly accusing her successor of threatening the UK’s global “credibility” by undermining British values. 

In an article for the Daily Mail marking Joe Biden’s inauguration as US president, the former prime minister argues that Johnson is “abandoning” the UK’s position of “global moral leadership” by backing out of commitments to spend 0.7% of national income on overseas aid.

May also blasts her successor for threatening to break international law with his controversial Internal Market Bill, which had not “raised our credibility in the eyes of the world”.

“We have been sliding towards absolutism in international affairs: if you are not 100% for me, you must be 100% against me,” she writes, adding that compromise has come to be seen as “a dirty word”.

The UK “must reject a scene in which a few strongmen face off against each other and instead bring people together in a common cause”, May continues, adding that “to lead, we must live up to our values”.

The former Tory leader has repeatedly criticised Johnson’s government over the past 18 months, in a series of Commons clashes over Brexit talks and the Good Friday Agreement.

But as The Telegraph notes, her latest intervention is “far more personal”. The Guardian agrees that May’s “stern words” mark her “most unrestrained attack on her successor yet”.

The written assault comes at a “delicate time for Johnson”, as the UK prepares to host the G7 summit in June and the UN climate change conference in November, adds Bloomberg.

But he has wasted no time in defending his corner.

In a statement issued to the Daily Mail last night, Johnson vowed to work “hand in hand” with Biden to help the new US president build “international cooperation”.

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