New cost-of-living tsar called Boris Johnson a 'lame duck PM'

Just Eat boss David Buttress has also said "Boris has to go" and called him a "dead man walking politically"
Just Eat boss David Buttress was appointed as the government's cost of living tsar yesterday. Photo: Marco Verch/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The government’s freshly appointed cost-of-living tsar has called Boris Johnson a “lame duck PM” and said even some of his own MPs have “low or no trust in his judgement”, it has emerged.

Just Eat founder David Buttress became the latest figure to be drafted in to help the government respond to a policy crisis yesterday. He was to work with the private sector to “identify, develop and promote new and existing business-led initiatives that support people with rising costs of living”, the Cabinet Office press release said.

Shortly after the announcement was made, the FT unearthed several comments Buttress had made on Twitter suggesting he took a dim view of the prime minister. One read: “Why is it that the worse [sic] people often rise to the highest office and stay there? Boris has to go, he just has to. You can’t survive judgment like this.”

In December, he said he agreed with a tweet calling the prime minister a “clown”, adding: “We have a lame duck PM who many, including parts of his own backbenches have low or no trust in his judgement. He’s a dead man walking politically.”

The tweet is one of a number publicly criticising Johnson, with one in March appearing to unfavourably compare the PM’s character to that of Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Eton, Oxford, into politics and then prime minister doesn’t necessarily capture the best gene pool,” he wrote.

Previously, the fast-food delivery boss has blasted the UK's approach to asylum seekers crossing the Channel in small boats as one of“prejudice, lack of common decency and humanity”, and shared an article that he said described the “dysfunctional relationship” between Johnson and his former chief political adviser Dominic Commings.

He has also suggested Johnson's success in the December 2019 general election was down to negative sentiment about the previous administration and the opposition, rather than "any real appetite for Boris".

Buttress, who is chair of the Welsh Dragons rugby team, has focused a number of his criticisms on the way Wales is treated as “irrelevant” in Westminster, saying on one occasion that “voting Tory in Wales is a form of self-harm”.

Jacob Rees-Mogg became another target of the businessman’s ire in January, when the government efficiency minister was unable to name the conservative leader in the Welsh Assembly.

Buttress was also critical of Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, who in 2019 he said would “need a new gig soon”.

But he had a more positive view of David Cameron, whom he called "a very good PM who cares about the UK and has always supported UK technology and innovation".

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