Sadiq Khan: Boris Johnson has failed 'first duty' of Foreign Secretary and must go

London Mayor says Foreign Secretary needs to work to get Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe after gaffe means she faces another five years in prison

Caroline Mortimer
Sunday 12 November 2017 10:34
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Sadiq Khan says Boris Johnson should be sacked as Foreign Secretary

Sadiq Khan has joined Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in calling for Theresa May to sack the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson.

The London Mayor said Mr Johnson had not performed his "first duty" in the role, which is diplomacy.

Speaking on the Andrew Marr show he was talking about the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who is currently imprisoned in Tehran on trumped up charges of sedition.

Sadiq Khan talking to Andrew Marr during the Show (BBC/PA Wire )

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works for the charitable arm of the Reuters news agency, has been held in the country since April 2016 when she went to visit her parents for Persian New Year.

But Mr Johnson potentially made her plight even worse this week when he wrongly claimed she had been in the country "training journalists" while speaking to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee earlier this week.

Iranian state TV took it as "proof" that she had been there to train journalism as part of a plot "to topple the Iranian regime".

He later refused to apologise when asked to in Parliament even though Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is a joint British-Iranian citizen, faces new charges of spreading "propaganda" though later apologised "if any words of [his] have been taken out of context and misconstrued to cause anxiety to Nazanin's family."

He spoke to his Iranian counterpart in an attempt to undo the damage but Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband, Richard Ratcliffe, has called on him to take him to Iran to see his wife and daughter.

Mr Ratcliffe has been unable to see his wife or their now three-year-old daughter Gabriella who is now living in Tehran with her maternal grandparents.

Mr Khan said it was important that Mr Johnson "clarified" his comments because they had been used by Iranian State TV to justify their treatment of Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

He called for Mr Johnson to apologise and get back to her home in north London or step down.

He said: "This is the latest gaffe made by own Foreign Secretary. He has offended the Libyans in relation to what he said about Sirte being 'the new Dubai should they get rid of the dead bodies'. He's offended the Americans by saying President Obama is anti-British because he's 'part Kenyan'.

"He's offended the Spanish, he's offended Sikhs with what he said about whisky tariffs in the Gurdwara. I think he has got to go.

"I think he is our Foreign Secretary whose job is diplomacy in the best interests of our country and if Theresa May was a strong Prime Minister she would have sacked him a long time ago.

"There are questions about why she appointed him in the first place, she did but sure he must have done enough to go".

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