Sky News has learnt that Foreign Office officials told Ireland’s Government “not to listen to whatever he had to say” ahead of Mr Johnson’s visit to Dublin a few weeks ago.
Extraordinarily, officials in Whitehall were very open with their counterparts in the Irish capital to “ignore the public utterances” of Britain’s chief diplomat.
Ahead of the visit, Irish officials were told “not to mind a word of what he says” – implying the Foreign Secretary was not speaking on behalf of the UK Government.
Jeremy Corbyn writes in the Observer: “Theresa May should never have appointed someone as Britain’s top diplomat who had accused Barack Obama of being anti-British because he’s ‘part-Kenyan’, and notoriously wrote about ‘flag-waving piccaninnies’.
“Now, after 16 months of the foreign secretary damaging Britain’s standing in the world, she should sack him.
From Daily Mirror: Boris Johnson‘s bid to boost Anglo-Spanish relations backfired spectacularly when he launched into a bizarre defence of bullfighting, telling a dinner to celebrate ties between the nations that trying to ban the cruel sport was “political correctness gone mad”.
From The Independent: Boris Johnson has said he was “very disappointed” and “mystified” by the planned closure of a police station in his constituency – despite it being shut as part of a policy he introduced as Mayor of London.
From New Statesman: A former British ambassador, requesting anonymity, called Boris Johnson “the least deserving and least qualified foreign secretary of modern times, who has successfully lived down to all expectations”. A senior European diplomat based in London concurred, saying that Johnson was “not taken seriously as a foreign policy actor” and was damaging British interests. He reckoned that three-fifths of the 27 EU ambassadors in London quite like Johnson but consider him ill-suited to the job, while the remaining two-fifths “positively dislike him”.
“They’ve got a brilliant vision to turn Sirte, with the help of the municipality of Sirte, to turn it into the next Dubai,” Johnson said. “The only thing they’ve got to do is clear the dead bodies away and then we will be there.”
From The Independent: Boris Johnson has told friends his minister’s salary of £141,405 a year is not enough to live on, because of his “extensive family responsibilities”, according to a report in The Sunday Times.
From The Guardian: The Tory foreign secretary has been accused of “incredible insensitivity” after it emerged he recited part of a colonial-era Rudyard Kipling poem in front of local dignitaries while on an official visit to Myanmar in January.
Boris Johnson was inside the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in the capital Yangon, when he started uttering the opening verse to The Road to Mandalay, including the line: “The temple bells they say/ Come you back you English soldier.”
Kipling’s poem captures the nostalgia of a retired serviceman looking back on his colonial service and a Burmese girl he kissed. Britain colonised Myanmar from 1824 to 1948 and fought three wars in the 19th century, suppressing widespread resistance.
Johnson’s impromptu recital was so embarrassing that the UK ambassador to Myanmar, Andrew Patrick, was forced to stop him. Read more
Rachel Sylvester, the Political Studies Association’s 2016 Journalist of the Year, writes in the Times: “According to diplomatic sources, even officials at the Trump White House ‘don’t want to go anywhere near Boris Johnson because they think he’s a joke’. If that seems ironic, one minister says: ‘It’s worse in Europe. There is not a single foreign minister there who takes him seriously. They think he’s a clown who can never resist a gag.’
[Link to full article in The Times…] (paywalled, but registration allows two free articles per month)
1. The time David Cameron went to apartheid South Africa
2. When Boris Johnson described black people as “piccaninnies”
3. When the magazine edited by Boris Johnson published an article claiming ‘black people have lower IQs’
4. The councillor who posted a picture of a gorilla alongside a critical comment about an Asian Labour councillor on a blog
5. The councillor who said Romanians would ‘stick a knife in you’
6. The MP who said members were treated like Jews in Nazi Germany after the expenses scandal
7. The councillor who complained about ‘foreign names’ among parliamentary candidates
8. The councillor who moaned there were “too many P***s” in his town
9. When Lord Tebbit told Baroness Warsi to be quiet after she spoke out about Islamophobia
[Meme from Wear Red – Stand Up and Be Counted]
One of 10 fire stations shut by Boris Johnson while he was Mayor of London is to be converted into luxury flats – by a company whose directors include a Tory donor. Belsize fire station was closed in 2014 after 100 years of service to the local community.
Vulcan Property Ltd, which bought the grade II listed building from the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) for £7.8 million, was given planning permission for the flats this week.
Electoral Commission records show one of the company’s three directors, William Richard Woodward-Fisher, made a £2000 donation to a Conservative association in 2005.
Boris Johnson and Iain Duncan Smith could lose seats under new constituency boundary review, analysis suggests
From The Independent: During his time as Mayor of London, Boris Johnson’s cuts in 2014 led to the closure of 10 fire stations and the loss of 552 firefighter jobs, following on from an 8% reduction in fire staff between 2007 and 2012.
At the time, Labour Assembly leader Andrew Dismore raised the issue of these cuts during a meeting at City Hall.
Boris’s reply was telling him to “get stuffed”.
Mr Johnson wrote in the Spectator one week after the London bombings: “It is difficult to deny that they have a point, the Told-You-So brigade.”
From the Guardian: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson caused a “livid” reaction from a worshipper in a Sikh temple by discussing his enthusiasm for a boost in the whisky trade. Alcohol is forbidden under some Sikh teachings.
Boris said to the crowd in the temple: “I hope I’m not embarrassing anybody here by saying that when we go to India, we have to bring ‘clinky’ in our luggage. We have to bring Johnnie Walker.”
“There is a duty of 150% in India on imports of Scottish whisky. So we have to bring it in for our relatives duty free. Imagine what we could do with a trade deal with India, which there will be, because then the tariffs would go.”
From Al-Jazeera: London Mayor Boris Johnson has caused controversy in the United Kingdom by claiming that US President Barack Obama has an “ancestral dislike” for Britain as a result of his “part-Kenyan” heritage.
In an opinion essay published in the right-leaning tabloid The Sun, the mayor criticised Obama’s eagerness to urge British voters to remain in the EU and argued that the president may be “anti- British”.