Boris Johnson does not seem to understand the difference between fact and fiction, Chris Patten, the former Conservative party chairman, has said.
Lord Patten told BBC Newsnight on Friday that Johnson made up stories and repeatedly changed his mind, and that after the EU referendum he needed to be tested in a “proper” cabinet job so that people could establish “whether there is something behind all the jokes”.
Johnson, the Conservative MP and former mayor of London, has faced a barrage of criticism since he started acting as the lead campaigner for Vote Leave. It has focused on the accuracy and appropriateness of his comments about the EU, but in some respects Patten’s comments are the strongest yet from a fellow Tory, because he depicted Johnson as untrustworthy.
Patten said: “Boris just makes it up as he goes along, and you come across people like that. There’s a sense in which you can’t call Boris a liar. I think he’s one of those people in life who simply doesn’t really understand the difference between fact and fiction.
“If he’ll make a good joke by saying something, or if he can write a newspaper article by referring to Hitler and the European Union, he does it, and he doesn’t think about it, but he’ll be saying the opposite in a few months’ time.”
I’m glad that at least someone has a handle on slippery Johnson.