UK Politics

Boris Johnson: Theresa May's got the show back on road

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Media captionBoris Johnson tells Today there is no PM vacancy

Boris Johnson has dismissed leadership speculation, saying Theresa May has shown "unbelievable grace and steel".

The foreign secretary said the PM had "put things back together and got the show back on the road" after a "difficult" election.

Asked about about any leadership contest, he said there would not be a vacancy "for a very long time".

He also appeared to backtrack on his previous support for axing the public sector pay cap.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Johnson said he agreed with Chancellor Philip Hammond on public sector pay and the need to take a "fiscally sensible and responsible" approach.

A source close to Mr Johnson had previously said the foreign secretary supported a better pay deal for public sector workers and believed this could be done without causing "fiscal pressures".

'Reckless'

Mr Johnson, who was briefly a rival to Mrs May in the Conservative leadership contest which followed David Cameron's resignation last year, sought to play down talk of a fresh contest.

He said: "The last thing people want is any more of this kind of nonsense.

"They want to see a long period of stability and calm and progress for the British people."

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Media captionBoris Johnson praises Donald Trump's approach to politics on Today

Mr Johnson also used his Today interview to urge China to step up economic pressure on North Korea following the launch of a long-range missile in defiance of a ban by the UN Security Council.

"My view is that what the North Koreans are doing is reckless, it's indefensible, it's in defiance of UN resolutions, repeated UN resolutions, it's illegal and I think that it is very important that the world stands together against what they re doing.

"People will say well, what can we actually physically do, and the single most important thing is for the country with the most direct economic relationship with North Korea, that is China, has got to continue to put on the pressure.

"In the last six months or so, we are seeing some real changes in Beijing's attitude to North Korea and that's got to go further."

'Imagination'

China and Russia have urged the United States to show restraint, after the American ambassador to the United Nations warned that North Korea's test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile had cast a dark shadow over the world.

Nikki Haley told an emergency meeting of the Security Council that the test represented a sharp military escalation.

Asked about whether he believed US President Donald Trump, who will later meet Theresa May in Hamburg, was unpredictable she said the UK did not "agree with everything Washington currently says".

But she added: "I think, actually, that Donald Trump's approach to politics has been something that has gripped the imagination of people around the world.

"He's engaged people in politics in a way that we haven't seen for a long time, with his tweets and all the rest of it. I do think that he raises people's awareness of issues, he engages in a very direct way."

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