Once again, a spokesperson for Downing Street was forced to rush to the defence of Boris Johnson for an ill-conceived, politically harmful comment. Boris Johnson warned the departing French president, Francois Hollande, should not respond to Britain's choice to leave the European Union by attempting to "administer punishment beatings" to the United Kingdom. The foreign secretary's comments came in response to Hollande's recent statement in which he claimed Britain will not receive a better trading relationship with Europe after Brexit.

"Punishment beatings"

Johnson declared: "If Hollande wants to administer punishment beatings to anybody who seeks escape from the European Union I don't think that is a progressive way of thinking about politics. It's not in the interest of our friends or our partners".

Johnson has a storied history of making outrageous comments that could harm diplomatic relations. In the past five years, Johnson has claimed that Saudi Arabia are abusing Islam, that the EU has the ambition of Napoleon, that Turkish President Erdogan was a "wan**r" and has described Hillary Clinton as a "nurse in a mental hospital".

Johnson's outburst came a mere 24 hours after prime minister Theresa May told her cabinet ministers to "exercise restraint when talking about Brexit", warning "any stray word" could potentially result in a worse Brexit deal for the United Kingdom.

Although France refrained from responding to Boris Johnson's insensitive comments, Guy Verhofstadt, the lead Brexit negotiator for the European parliament, stated that Johnson's comments were "abhorrent and deeply unhelpful".

Support for Johnson

Michael Gove, the man who prevented Johnson from challenging for the Conservative party leadership, said on Twitter: "People 'offended' by the foreign secretary's comments today are humourless, deliberately obtuse snowflakes - it is a witty metaphor".

Fellow leave campaigner and Labour MP from Birmingham Edgbaston, Gisela Stuart, stated that she believed that Johnson spoke without malice, but advised him "not to talk about the war for the next two years" as it may have "serious impact on the UK's future".