Boris Johnson compared his time as foreign secretary to being in a ‘steel condom’, claims Tory peer

·2 min read
Boris Johnson pictured in 2016 - Mohammad Ismail /AFP
Boris Johnson pictured in 2016 - Mohammad Ismail /AFP

Boris Johnson compared being Britain's foreign secretary to being “imprisoned in a steel condom”, Baroness Davidson of Lundin Links has revealed.

The former Scottish Tory leader said she believed the Prime Minister had made the private remark to her in reference to the constraints placed upon him by government officials.

Mr Johnson committed what were seen as a series of gaffes during his two-year stint in the Foreign Office, between 2016 and 2018, including making what were seen as unhelpful remarks about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British citizen then imprisoned in Iran.

Baroness Davidson was asked for any anecdotes about Mr Johnson during a show at the Edinburgh Fringe.

She has previously been highly critical of the Prime Minister and her differences with Mr Johnson were seen as a factor behind her stepping down as Scottish Tory leader in 2019.

'I've never heard that as a phrase'

"He once described being foreign secretary to me as like being enclosed in a steel condom,” Baroness Davidson told Iain Dale, the LBC presenter. “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.

“I've never heard that as a phrase... it would certainly affect performance, but this is not my area of expertise as I think you’ve already covered.”

Baroness Davidson had previously discussed her sexuality and coming out as gay to her family.

Baroness Davidson of Lundin Links - House of Lords
Baroness Davidson of Lundin Links - House of Lords

Mr Dale responded by saying he was “quite surprised that Boris Johnson knows what a condom is”.

Mr Johnson is a father to seven children, including two with his wife Carrie Johnson.

Now a member of the House of Lords, Baroness Davidson also revealed that she would be prepared to come back to front-line politics to lead a pro-Union campaign in any future independence referendum.

She said she did not believe there would be another referendum in the next 10 to 15 years but would be ready to serve “in any way I can” should the SNP succeed in securing a second vote on Scotland leaving the UK.