Boris Johnson says US is 'bastion of peace and freedom' despite ongoing protests

10 June 2020, 13:23

By Megan White

Boris Johnson has said the US is a “bastion of peace and freedom” amid ongoing protests following the death of George Floyd.

The Prime Minister refused to condemn President Trump’s actions in the wake of Mr Floyd’s death on May 25, but did say the incident was “absolutely appalling.”

During Prime Minister’s Questions, SNP MP Kirsty Blackman said: “The response of the US President to the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement has been horrendous.

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“Can the Prime Minister confirm to me if he still believes Trump has ‘many many good qualities’, and if so, what are they?”

Mr Johnson responded: “I renew what I have said many times and it is important for the House to hear it again.

Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minster's Questions
Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minster's Questions. Picture: PA

“Yes, black lives matter, and yes, the death of George Floyd was absolutely appalling.

“As for the qualities of Mr Trump, let me say, amongst many other things, he is President of the United States, which is our most important ally in the world today.

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“And whatever people may say about it, whatever those on the left may say about it, the United States is a bastion of peace and freedom and has been for most of my lifetime.”

Ms Blackman’s question referred to comments made by the PM about his American counterpart’s leadership record after he was asked how he would persuade Mr Trump to take tougher action against global warming.

During PMQs, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called on the Government to "turbocharge" its responses to racial inequality in the UK.

Sir Keir 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."

Mr Floyd’s death in Minneapolis sparked protests across the world, including in London across the weekend.

Police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, while three other officers who were also involved have been charged with other offences.

On Sunday, activists in Bristol pulled down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston and rolled it into the harbour.

It has prompted Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to announce a review of statues of historical figures in London, with one already having been removed.