Boris Johnson denies claims No 10 withheld intelligence details from him
The Tory leadership front-runner said reports by the BBC and The Sun newspaper were ‘not true’.
Boris Johnson has denied claims he was kept in the dark over some sensitive secret intelligence details by Downing Street when he became foreign secretary.
The Tory leadership front-runner said reports by the BBC and The Sun newspaper were “not true”, adding he was “extremely dubious about the provenance of this story”.
Prime Minister Theresa May allegedly ordered some information be withheld from Mr Johnson when he entered office in 2016 over fears he could not be trusted.
A source told the BBC Mr Johnson was aware of the decision at the time and “very unhappy” about it.
But appearing at a Conservative leadership hustings in Darlington, Mr Johnson said: “I am sure that the Prime Minister would not comment on intelligence matters either so I am extremely dubious about the provenance of this story.
“It’s not true and I don’t comment on intelligence matters.”
A source close to Mr Johnson earlier told PA there was no row about being denied access and he saw everything he should have seen as foreign secretary.
Downing Street said it did not comment on intelligence matters.
But asked if Mrs May trusted Mr Johnson, a Number 10 spokeswoman said: “Yes. It’s a matter of fact that it was the PM’s own decision to appoint Boris Johnson as foreign secretary in full knowledge of all responsibilities that that job involves.”
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt refused to be drawn on the reports, telling the hustings: “We do have a rule that we never comment on intelligence matters and that would include comments about my predecessor and comments about myself.
“We have the finest intelligence services in the world in this country – that does depend on some discretion by the Foreign Secretary so I’m not going to breach that now.”
The Sun claimed nerves were sparked when Mr Johnson was accused of revealing classified information by mistake.
A source told the paper: “The PM didn’t think Boris could be trusted because he had a loose tongue. He made the agencies anxious. He wasn’t told everything because of that.
“Pre-meetings would be arranged without his knowledge before he’d come over to No 10.
“They probably both share the blame for the situation and it was a clash of their worst traits – Boris is a big mouth and Theresa can be a paranoid control freak.”