Seven controversial quotes from UK's new prime minister Boris Johnson

As a columnist, Boris Johnson offended many. Will he continue down the same road now that he's a prime minister?
As a columnist, Boris Johnson offended many. Will he continue down the same road now that he's a prime minister?
Image: REUTERS / Simon Dawson

What do the UK's new prime minister Boris Johnson and US president Donald Trump have in common? For starters, a history of making outrageous and offensive remarks.

The former journalist and columnist who is to be Great Britain's prime minister as of Wednesday has in the past made comments that have not gone down well - and there's no sign that he will change once he is the country's main man.

Here are some of his most controversial quotes.

Colonialism in Africa

In 2002, Johnson said Africa was a mess and colonialism wasn't to blame.

"Almost every dollar of Western aid seems tied to some programme of female emancipation — stamping out clitorectomy, polygamy, bride-price, or whatever. And while some readers may feel vaguely that the African male should not be stampeded into abandoning his ancient prerogatives, one cannot doubt the care — bordering on obsession — with which Western workers pursue their ends."

Extremist Islam

In his most infamous 2005 column at the Spectator, he said it was time to reassert British values in the face of extremist Islam.

"To any non-Muslim reader of the Koran, Islamophobia — fear of Islam — seems a natural reaction, and, indeed, exactly what that text is intended to provoke. Judged purely on its scripture — to say nothing of what is preached in the mosques — it is the most viciously sectarian of all religions in its heartlessness towards unbelievers."

Big boobs

In the same year, Johnson claimed voting for the Conservative Party would result in women having bigger boobs.

"Voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts and increase your chances of owning a BMW M3."

Hillary Clinton

In a column in the Telegraph in 2007, he said Hillary Clinton looked like "a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital".

"I hum and I brood and then to my amazement a face seems to form in my mind's eye. She's got dyed blonde hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital; and as I snap out of my trance I slap my forehead in astonishment."

No love for Donald Trump

In 2015, he said one of the reasons why he wouldn't go to some parts of New York was the risk of meeting Trump.

"I would invite him to come and see the whole of London … except that I wouldn't want to expose Londoners to any risk of meeting Donald Trump.

"The only reason I wouldn't go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump."

Part-Kenyan Obama

A year later he referred to Barack Obama as "part-Kenyan" - while the heritage of the then-US president has always been high on Donald Trump's agenda.

"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."

Muslim women

In 2018, Johnson compared Muslim women wearing burqas to bank robbers.

"If a female student turned up at school or at a university lecture looking like a bank robber then ditto: those in authority should be allowed to converse openly with those that they are being asked to instruct."

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