DOWNING Street has rebuked Boris Johnson over his latest gaffe, branding his comments about clearing bodies from a Libyan city inappropriate.

A No 10 source said Theresa May would “echo” the public slap-down by who is effectively her deputy, Damian Green, who said the Foreign Secretary should have chosen his words more carefully.

But the source said May now regards the matter as closed. Asked if Johnson should apologise, the source said: “That is a matter for him.”

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Johnson sparked outrage on Tuesday evening by telling a meeting on the fringe of the Conservative conference in Manchester that the city of Sirte could be like Dubai if the Libyans could “clear the dead bodies away”.

First Secretary of State Green said Johnson’s remarks were “unacceptable”, adding: “Everyone, including Boris, needs to be careful in their use of language.”

And the Downing Street source told reporters: “The Prime Minister would echo that sentiment. We didn’t feel it was an appropriate choice of words.”

Home Secretary Amber Rudd went further, saying: “He’s a distraction sometimes, from the real stuff we are trying to do.”

The rebuke followed a series of calls earlier for Johnson to be sacked.

Stephen Gethins, the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman, said: “The humanitarian disaster that has unfolded in the country since that intervention is rightly seen as one of this governments worst foreign policy failures.

“The Foreign Secretary’s lack of grasp of this dire situation shows that he is completely unfit for the office.”

Heidi Allen, a Tory MP tweeted: “Boris must be sacked for this. He does not represent my party.”

Johnson defended his comments in a series of tweets: “Shame people with no knowledge or understanding of Libya want to play politics with the appallingly dangerous reality in Sirte.

“The reality there is the clearing of corpses of Daesh fighters has been made much more difficult by IEDs.”