Boris Johnson tests the waters with Czech minister in boat trip diplomacy

Boris Johnson has taken an impromptu boat trip with a foreign counterpart despite desperate pleas from his wife to stay on dry land for fear they would be drowned.

During a walk around the estate at Chevening House, the Foreign Secretary tried to encourage ministers from eight European allies to join him for a spin out in a rowing boat.

After Mr Johnson pushed the vessel out on to the water, wife Marina Wheeler tried to persuade him to head to the house with the delegation.

Taking him by the arm, the barrister said: "Come on, they have got a programme. We don't want to drown... we are not drowning the foreign ministers, come on."

But Mr Johnson soon headed back to the boat where he suffered a wardrobe malfunction more commonly associated with builders while holding it steady for the Czech Republic's deputy foreign minister Ivo Sramek.

Boris Johnson
The Foreign Secretary finally embarks on his journey on the lake (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Joining Mr Sramek in the dinghy, Mr Johnson said the paddle would be a "tremendous success" before spent a couple of minutes rowing round the lake.

As well as the Czech minister, Mr Johnson was hosting counterparts from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia at the grace and favour house in Kent for talks on European security.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson (second right) with European foreign ministers and his wife Marina Wheeler (third left) at Chevening House Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

He said: "Our departure from the EU will make no difference to Britain's unconditional and immovable commitment to the security and defence of Europe.

"This meeting was a further demonstration that the UK is a vital partner in the security of our continent."

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