- London Mayor Sadiq Khan said British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson should resign in a BBC interview with Andrew Marr on Sunday.
- Johnson has made a series of gaffes that have offended Libyans, Americans, the Spanish, and others
- The foreign secretary should clarify a statement he made in parliament which was used as evidence against a British woman serving a five-year jail sentence in Iran.
- Khan believes Theresa May would have fired Johnson a long time ago if she was a strong prime minister.
LONDON (Reuters) – London Mayor Sadiq Khan called on British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to resign, speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday, after a series of gaffes which Khan said had offended Libyans, Americans, the Spanish, and others.
An Iranian court recently used Johnson’s words as evidence against a British woman serving a five-year jail sentence in Iran after she was arrested in Tehran airport in April 2016 for reasons not yet known.
In November, Johnson told a parliamentary committee that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been detained in Iran because she was teaching journalism. Johnson’s words were used as evidence against Zaghari-Ratcliffe when she appeared in an Iranian court on November 4. She now faces another five years being added to her prison sentence.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe has repeatedly insisted that she was on holiday in Iran when arrested, and her husband and employers have said Johnson’s remark was false.
“I think it’s important for Boris Johnson to clarify the huge error he made,” Khan told Marr. Johnson “has to go,” Khan said.
Khan brought up a string of other blunders made by the foreign minister, including a quip Johnson made in early October that the Libyan city of Sirte could be turned into the next Dubai by British investors if they could clear the bodies. Johnson refused to apologise for his comments, claiming his conference remarks illustrated “the reality” of life in Libya.
The London mayor also referenced comments that Johnson made about former US President Barack Obama in April 2016. Johnson, while trying to gather support for a British exit from the European Union, claimed that Obama harboured an “ancestral dislike of the British empire” because he is “part Kenyan.”
“If Theresa May was a strong prime minister, she would have sacked [Johnson] a long time ago,” Khan told Marr.
Khan’s comments follow a column from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in The Observer, calling for Johnson to fired.
“We’ve put up with Johnson embarrassing and undermining our country with his incompetence and colonial throwback views and putting our citizens at risk for long enough. It’s time for him to go,” Corbyn wrote.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)