Boris Johnson branded ‘chauvinist’ and ‘racist’ after comments from old book resurface

PM makes slew of crude sexual innuendos and suggests women are incapable of map-reading

Maya Oppenheim
Women's Correspondent
@mayaoppenheim
Wednesday 25 September 2019 07:22
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Boris Johnson has been branded “chauvinist and racist” by politicians after remarks he made in an old book about cars resurfaced.

The prime minister uses Life in the Fast Lane: The Johnson Guide to Cars to make a slew of crude sexual innuendos and suggest women are incapable of map-reading.

The book, which was published in 2007, was a collection of his motoring columns for GQ magazine.

Mr Johnson, who was described as “the world’s worst car journalist” by motoring site Carkeys.co.uk, includes repeated sexual allusions and references to the way women look in his reviews.

“'Come on, baby,' I say tersely to the girl, 'Speak to me, for heaven’s sake.' You know how it is when you’re relying on some chick to map-read and they go all silent and sulky?” the Conservative politician wrote when describing a Lexus IS200’s female-voiced Sat-Nav in a review.

“And I jab her again, harder, because that’s the sort of guy I am, and then Carol speaks: so cool, so low, so scrotum-tighteningly thoughtful.”

The Conservative Party leader’s review of the Ferrari F430 also includes references to sex.

Mr Johnson wrote: “It was as though the whole county of Hampshire was lying back and opening her well-bred legs to be ravished by the Italian stallion.”

He describes the matron in a bikini at his school in one segment, saying: “Jane was big and bouncy and beautiful and one day I almost passed out when she joined us in the swimming pool in an orange bikini.”

When penning a piece about Indian-made G-Wiz electric car later on the book, he says: “This battery-powered, Indian-assembled saloon may be the hottest thing from Bangalore that doesn’t come with poppadoms.”

Labour MP Wes Streeting argued the PM used racist and chauvinist language in the book.

“No wonder Amber Rudd famously said Boris Johnson is ‘not the man you want driving you home at the end of the evening’,” the Ilford North MP said.

”The language is chauvinistic, racist, vulgar and frankly what we’ve come to expect from Mr Johnson.“

Labour MP Rupa Huq added: ”I don’t think anyone will be surprised to read these puerile words, designed to mock women and people from minority ethnic communities.

“Boris Johnson has always taken the side of power and privilege – from refusing to rescind the knighthood given to a man who beat up his girlfriend, to his Islamophobic comments that were followed by a 375 per cent increase in hate crimes.

“Our prime minister should be standing up to hatred – but instead his premiership has followed on seamlessly from his journalism, sowing the seeds of division.”

Mr Johnson was fiercely criticised and accused of racism after comparing veiled Muslim women to letterboxes and bank robbers in a 2018 column for The Daily Telegraph.

Mandu Reid, the leader of the Women’s Equality Party, said: “Attitudes are anchored in language which is why I am deeply concerned and affronted that we have a prime minister who normalises these kind of misogynistic and degrading comments.

”It is no coincidence that in the week after Johnson compared Muslim women to ‘letterboxes’ and ‘bank robbers’, there was a 375 per cent increase in Islamophobic incidents. Johnson has announced a woefully inadequate funding package for support services for survivors of sexual violence, as well as establishing the role of Domestic Abuse Commissioner which, unfortunately, has no formal powers until the Domestic Abuse Bill passes through parliament and becomes law.

”But by perpetuating sexist attitudes like those displayed in this book, he himself has directly contributed to a culture in which women are continually belittled, denigrated and, as a result, all too frequently denied the justice and support they require.“

The Independent has contacted a representative for Downing Street for comment.

Additional reporting by Triangle News

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