Johnson compared job to a ‘steel condom’

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Tory peer claims outgoing PM used colorful language to describe his Foreign Office term

Caretaker UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson once described his job as foreign secretary – the post he held from 2016 to 2018 – as being “imprisoned in a steel condom.” Baroness Davidson, a former Scottish Tory leader and no friend of Johnson, revealed the saucy turn of phrase in a LBC interview.

Ruth Davidson resigned as the leader of Scottish Conservatives in 2019, shortly after Johnson became prime minister, and has been highly critical of him since. She later became baroness of Lundin Links in the County of Fife, and is presently sitting in the House of Lords as a life peer.

Asked about any anecdotes about Johnson during a LBC show at the Edinburgh Fringe festival, Davidson recalled a reference to his term running the Foreign Office.

“He once described being foreign secretary to me as like being enclosed in a steel condom,” she told LBC’s Iain Dale. “I found it odd because I hadn’t asked him. I think he meant the amount of attention he had from civil servants to make sure he didn’t say anything. ‘Imprisoned in a steel condom’ is what he said.” 

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“I’ve never heard that as a phrase,” Davidson added. “It would certainly affect performance, but this is not my area of expertise, as I think you’ve already covered.” Davidson came out as a lesbian in 2015.

Dale responded by saying he was “quite surprised that Boris Johnson knows what a condom is,” in an apparent reference to the PM having fathered seven children, including two with his current wife.

Johnson, a former journalist and mayor of London, served as foreign secretary in Theresa May’s cabinet for a salary of £145,000 ($175,000) a year. He resigned in July 2018 and worked behind the scenes to oust May. Last month, he stepped down as Conservative leader amid a widespread rebellion in his cabinet, staying on as caretaker PM until a new party leader is elected. 

The remaining two candidates to replace him are former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss – who has yet to comment on Johnson’s description of her job.

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