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Barack Obama rubbishes Boris Johnson's Churchill smear

By Toby Jones

US President Barack Obama has hit back at claims he had removed a bust of UK wartime leader Winston Churchill from the White House.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson claimed in The Sun newspaper that Mr Obama's part-Kenyan ancestry had given him an "ancestral dislike of the British empire".

But the US leader last night dismissed the claims, telling a Press conference that a bust of Churchill remained on display in the White House.

It is located outside the Treaty Room which is his private office on the second floor of his official Washington residence.

Mr Johnson said he was "delighted" by Mr Obama's backing for Churchill, claiming that he was a 'big fan' of the US President.

A separate Churchill bust which had been loaned to President George Bush by Tony Blair was removed from the Oval Office along with other art loaned to the Bush presidency after Mr Obama's 2009 inauguration "as is common practice at the end of every presidency", the White House said at the time.

Earlier yesterday, the US president paid tribute to the Queen, describing her as an "astonishing person and a real jewel".

He spoke after having lunch with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle and presenting her with a 90th birthday present - an album of photos showing the Queen meeting various US presidents.

Mr Obama said the Queen "is truly one of my favourite people".

"She's an astonishing person," he added, "and a real jewel to the world, not just to the United Kingdom".

Belfast Telegraph

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