Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News Politics

'Did he just say that?' - New UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's most controversial comments about foreigners

Published 14/07/2016

After Brexit, Britain’s so-called “special relationship” with the US will take on even greater importance to the fate of the country.

Hitting out at the US President for intervening in the Brexit debate, Mr Johnson wrote in The Sun about how he had removed a bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval office.

He said: “No one was sure whether the President had himself been involved in the decision. Some said it was a snub to Britain. Some said it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan President's ancestral dislike of the British Empire - of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender.”

Labour MP Chuka Umunna, whose father was Nigerian, tweeted after Mr Johnson's new role was revealed, saying: "Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's first official meeting with President Obama will be interesting. Suggest it starts with the word 'sorry"'.

Click through images below to see more:

Newly appointed Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in central London after new Prime Minister Theresa May gave him the role. / AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Newly appointed Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in central London after new Prime Minister Theresa May gave him the role. / AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Comments about black people and ‘watermelon smiles’: Mr Johnson was forced to apologise back in 2008 after the then-London mayoral candidate was presented with his comments, written five years earlier, about black people. In a column published in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Johnson mocked Tony Blair's globetrotting. He wrote: "What a relief it must be for Blair to get out of England. It is said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies.” It also mentioned "watermelon smiles" – linking black people to an appetite for watermelons is a racist stereotype, particularly common in the US.
Boris Johnson hangs in mid-air after he got stuck on a zipwire at an Olympic event at Victoria Park in London. Photo: Ben Kendall/PA Wire
Comments about China’s influence on the world: China is the birthplace of printing, gunpowder, the compass, toilet paper, e-cigarettes, tofu, hoverboards, the teapot, the restaurant menu, incense, fireworks, the toothbrush and the passenger drone. Yet in a 2005 column for the Telegraph entitled “Getting our knickers in a twist over China”, Mr Johnson played down the importance of the world’s most populous nation when compared to that of, for example, “the British Empire”. “We do not need to fear the Chinese,” he said. “China will not dominate the globe. We do not need to teach babies Mandarin.” “Compared with the old British Empire, and the new American imperium, Chinese cultural influence is virtually nil, and unlikely to increase.” (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
The then London Mayor Boris Johnson playing rugby with Japanese elementary school children in Tokyo on October 15, 2015 during a promotional event for the 2019 Rugby World Cup which will be held in Japan.
His suggestion the French would rather live in London: In a speech in 2013, Mr Johnson recalled how he had met with the former French PM Alain Juppe, the mayor of Bordeaux at the time and therefore the representative of 239,517 people – the ninth biggest city in France. Mr Johnson said: “I got the ball back very firmly over the net, folks, because I said there were 250,000 French men and women in London and therefore I was the mayor of the sixth biggest French city on earth.” (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
While Mayor of London Boris Johnson hits a shot during a celebrity tennis match in aid of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity at the Queen's Club in west London on June 16, 2013. Diplomatic is not a word that describes Boris Johnson, new British Prime Minister Theresa May's surprise choice for foreign minister. / AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNISADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
Comparison of the EU with Hitler: Arguably Mr Johnson’s most prominent contribution to the Brexit debate came when he suggested Europe could not be unified, that Hitler and Napoleon had tried to do so and failed, and that the EU was “an attempt to do this by different methods”. The comments caused an uproar – but Mr Johnson stood by them, saying that while the EU was a “peaceful organisation” it was still among the several attempts over the years to “recreate the dream of the Roman Empire”. “Very often that's been done by force. The EU is different, it's trying to do it in a more bureaucratic way,” he said.
File photo taken on October 28, 2014 shows Mayor of London Boris Johnson boxes with a trainer during his visit to Fight for Peace Academy in North Woolwich, London, on October 28, 2014. / AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
His offensive poem about the Turkish president: He may have been busy with the Brexit campaign in full flow, but Mr Johnson took the time in April this year to write an offensive limerick about the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Amid an international free speech row between Turkey and Germany, Mr Johnson agreed to take part in a poetry competition organised by his former magazine The Spectator. Mr Johnson’s poem described President Erdogan as a “young fellow from Ankara” who “sowed his wild oats / with the help of a goat / but didn't even stop to thankera”. “If somebody wants to make a joke about the love that flowers between the Turkish president and a goat, he should be able to do so in any European country, including Turkey,” Mr Johnson said. Pic: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire
File photo dated 29/02/16 of Boris Johnson (centre) swinging from a bus as Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers (left), Northern First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster and Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment Jonathan Bell (second right) look on during a visit to Wrightbus Chassis plant in Antrim. Johnson's appointment as Foreign Secretary is likely to raise eyebrows after he blazed a trail of high-profile gaffes and controversies on the international stage. Pic Niall Carson/PA Wire
His comments about the potential next US President In another Telegraph column, in November 2007, Mr Johnson described Hillary Clinton as having "a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital". The piece, which framed Ms Clinton as the best candidate to replace George W Bush in the 2008 presidential election, also described Mr Obama as "plainly brilliant". Little did he know at the time, perhaps, that Ms Clinton would one day be the favourite to take over from Mr Obama at the White House – and he the Foreign Secretary responsible for projecting a positive image of Britain to the world.
File photo dated 08/09/14 of Boris Johnson saluting from the deck of the tall ship Tenacious in east London. Johnson's appointment as Foreign Secretary is likely to raise eyebrows after he blazed a trail of high-profile gaffes and controversies on the international stage. Pic: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
File photo dated 30/09/14 of Boris Johnson holding a brick during his speech to delegates at the Conservative Party annual conference. Pic: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
File photo dated 15/11/04 of Boris Johnson, whose appointment as Foreign Secretary is likely to raise eyebrows after he blazed a trail of high-profile gaffes and controversies on the international stage. Pic: Chris Young/PA Wire
File photo dated 15/10/15 of Boris Johnson joining a Street Rugby tournament in a Tokyo street. Johnson's appointment as Foreign Secretary is likely to raise eyebrows after he blazed a trail of high-profile gaffes and controversies on the international stage. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday July 14, 2016. Pic: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
File photo dated 10/02/15 of Boris Johnson, whose appointment as Foreign Secretary is likely to raise eyebrows after he blazed a trail of high-profile gaffes and controversies on the international stage. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday July 14, 2016. Pic: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
File photo dated 01/07/11 of Boris Johnson playing tennis. Johnson's appointment as Foreign Secretary is likely to raise eyebrows after he blazed a trail of high-profile gaffes and controversies on the international stage. Pic: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
File photo dated 16/03/15 of Boris Johnson planting flowers at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew. Pic: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
File photo dated 08/05/15 of Boris Johnson, whose appointment as Foreign Secretary is likely to raise eyebrows after he blazed a trail of high-profile gaffes and controversies on the international stage. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Pic: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Independent News Service

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph