Boris Johnson: Don't be too hard on BP


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In his weekly column for the Telegraph Boris has, by his own admission, stuck up for some "unfashionable causes". Joining fox-hunters, bankers and George W Bush on the (edited) list this week is British Petroleum - the oil giant who turned hundreds of miles of Louisana coast-line into a toxic churn of pollutants after a drilling unit exploded in 2010. 

"It strikes me that BP has already paid a heavy price for the catastrophe, and that there is now a risk that the punishment will get out of hand. The company has paid $7.8 billion to compensate fishermen, condo owners and other tourism interests, as well as $7.5 billion in further clean-up costs... And now a federal US court is proposing to hit the British firm with an absolute crippler of a fine — some people say it will be in the region of $40 billion."

Boris continues: "That is a colossal sum, and it could affect the very viability of the company; and you should not imagine that such a fine would be cost-free for the UK as a whole. A lot of our pension funds have traditionally invested in BP shares, and if BP shares go down then that is bad news for UK pensioners and a tremendous thwack on the mazzard for UK plc."