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Boris Johnson praises Jeremy Clarkson for advancing British influence abroad

Published 02/10/2016

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on the first day of the Conservative party conference at the ICC in Birmingham. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on the first day of the Conservative party conference at the ICC in Birmingham. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

Boris Johnson has praised Jeremy Clarkson for advancing British influence around the world.

Mr Clarkson was fired from the motoring show Top Gear in March last year following a "fracas" with a producer.

The Foreign Secretary described Mr Clarkson as a "prophet more honoured abroad" than in the UK as he addressed Tory members at the Conservative conference in Birmingham.

Mr Johnson also applauded Harry Potter author JK Rowling and the BBC.

He said: "Our hard power is dwarfed by a phenomenon that the pessimists never predicted when we unbundled the British empire and that is of course our soft power - the vast, subtle, pervasive extension of British influence around the world that goes with having the language that was invented and perfected in this country and now has more speakers than any other language on earth.

"Up the creeks and inlets of all the continents of the world go the gentle gunboats of British soft power.

"Skippered by the likes of Jeremy Clarkson - a prophet more honoured abroad, alas, than in his own country - or JK Rowling, who is worshipped by young people in some Asian countries as a kind of divinity, or just the BBC.

"No matter how infuriating and shamelessly anti-Brexit they sometimes can be, I think the Beeb is the single greatest and most effective ambassador for our culture and our values."

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