The UK's bumbling and bombastic Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson put on a clueless and confused performance as he was grilled over the government's slimmed down legislative programme on Wednesday evening (21 June).

Johnson, who has long harboured ambitions to become prime minister, failed to coherently answer BBC Radio 4 presenter Eddie Mair when asked what the Conservatives would do to "ensure the criminal justice system stops treating black people more harshly than white."

"Well there are measures in the, er, I believe in the, er, the bill on the courts..." Johnson said. "I think it is supposed to, er, address some of those issues and I think one thing in particular that, er..."

The former Mayor of London later sounded like he was rustling papers. "Hang on a second," he added.

The embarrassing episode was reminiscent of Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott's car crash interview with LBC Radio during the 2017 general election campaign. Abbott stumbled over police funding figures as Labour promised to hire 10,000 extra officers.

With Prime Minister Theresa May facing more and more pressure in Number 10, Johnson's gaffe could arguably damage his chances for the top job if May were to resign or face a coup. Fellow Brexit campaigner Michael Gove famously quit as Johnson's leadership campaign manager in 2016, forcing the former Mayor of London to abort his campaign.

Gove has since been welcomed back into government by May as environment secretary, while leadership manoeuvres among top Tories have reportedly been put on hold in a bid to bolster May, avoid an election and keep her in power during the two-year-long Brexit talks with the EU.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, is enjoying a post-election boost as his MPs unite behind him. The latest opinion poll from Survation for ITV's Good Morning Britain, of more than 1,000 people on 17 June, put Labour on three point lead over the Conservatives (44% versus 41%).

Boris Johnson
Foreign secretary Boris Johnson.Reuters