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Boris Johnson’s political career: Gaffes, insults and a zip line

The controversial Conservative MP has had many colourful moments and gaffes.

Boris Johnson’s resignation as foreign secretary intensified Downing Street’s crisis after Brexit Secretary David Davis quit over Theresa May’s plans to depart the European Union.

Here we take a look at some of the controversial Conservative MP’s most colourful moments and gaffes:

– Zip line

Strung from a zip wire high above London while clutching two British flags, a harness tightly gripping his suit, is how many will remember Mr Johnson. He was London mayor during the 2012 Olympics when he became stuck above a chuckling crowd.

“I think they needed to test this on somebody going a bit faster,” he told onlookers.

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Boris Johnson on a zip wire (Ben Kendall/PA)

– Tackles

Born Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, he is also known for his displays of questionable sportsmanship. During a game of street rugby in Tokyo in 2015, he was filmed wiping out a 10-year-old Japanese schoolboy with a far too enthusiastic tackle.

The politician had not learned his lesson, having previously tripped a schoolboy during a kickabout in London while mayor and having performed some sort of rugby tackle aimed at an opponent’s crotch during a charity football match in 2006.

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Mr Johnson’s overenthusiastic play against a boy, 10 (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

– The leadership bid that never was

After the pro-Brexit politician was the star of the successful Leave campaign, it was expected he would make a bid at becoming prime minister when a humiliated David Cameron stood down. But, after much speculation, Mr Johnson announced he would not enter the Conservative leadership race when his ally Michael Gove announced he was running.

– Brexit bus

During that campaign he travelled around the country in a Vote Leave bus controversially emblazoned with the claim that exiting the EU would bring £350 million a week back to Britain to spend on the NHS. This was widely disputed.

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Mr Johnson next to the controversial claim (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

– Foreign insults of a foreign secretary in the making

Before taking charge at the Foreign Office, Mr Johnson had been repeatedly criticised for using racially-charged or offensive language, including:

Describing the Queen being greeted in Commonwealth countries by “flag-waving piccaninnies”, a derogatory term for black children, and then-prime minister Tony Blair being met by “tribal warriors” with “watermelon smiles” while on a trip to the Congo.

Criticising Barack Obama in 2016 as a “part-Kenyan” with an “ancestral dislike” of Britain when the then-US president came out in support of Remain.

Penning a satirical limerick describing Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan having sex with a goat and calling him a “wankerer” to rhyme with the Turkish capital of Ankara.

Creating a political storm when he compared EU efforts to create a superstate to Hitler’s attempt to rule the continent, saying: “Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically.”

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His use of language has been repeatedly criticised (Owen Humphreys/PA)

– Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

After being the surprise pick as foreign secretary, Mr Johnson’s gaffes did not cease. They included a diplomatic blunder when he wrongly claimed a British woman, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, was “training journalists” in Iran, where she had been jailed.

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