Boris Johnson says US 'bastion of peace and freedom' amid Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality

Asked about Trump's good qualities, the PM says he is 'the president of the US which is our most important ally in the word today'

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 10 June 2020 13:33
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US is a 'bastion of peace and freedom, whatever those on the left may say about it', says Boris

Boris Johnson has hailed the US as a "bastion of peace and freedom" amid widespread Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality.

The prime minister was challenged over whether he believed Donald Trump had "many, many good qualities" following international criticism at the US president's response to the demonstrations over the death of George Floyd.

Mr Johnson said the death of Mr Floyd at the hands of police was "absolutely appalling" and reiterated his support for the Black Lives Matter movement during a prime minister's questions exchange with the SNP's Kirsty Blackman.

However he struggled to come up with personal praise for Mr Trump, saying he is "the president of the United States which is our most important ally in the word today".

The prime minister went on: "Whatever people may say about it, whatever those on the left may say about it, the US is a bastion of peace and freedom and has been for most of my lifetime."

Mr Johnson was urged to "turbo charge" the government's response to racial inequality in the UK, with Labour pointing to more than seven reports over the past three years which resulted in limited progress.

Sir Keir Starmer said: "There have been at least seven reports into racial inequality in the last three years alone but precious little action. For example, most of the recommendations in the Lammy Report into inequality in the criminal justice system have yet to be implemented three years after the report was published."

He added: "So will the prime minister now turbocharge the government's responses and tell us when he'll implement in full the Lammy Report and the Windrush recommendations?"

Mr Johnson replied: "Of course I understand, as I said, I understand the very strong and legitimate feelings of people in this country at the death of George Floyd and of course I agree that black lives matter.

"And we are getting on with the implementation, and not just of the Lammy Report, but also the report into Windrush."

He added: "But I must stress that on the Lammy Report and on all these matters it is absolutely vital at the same time that we keep our streets safe and that we back our police - and that is what we are going to do."

The prime minister said the government was "already acting" to mitigate the risks of coronavirus among black and minority ethnic communities, who have been harder hit by the virus.

He said the government was working to ensure that "those high-contact professions get expanded and targeted testing now", as frontline workers such as bus drivers and shop workers have been particularly affected.

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