'I don't believe in gestures. I believe in substance' PM indicates he would not 'take a knee'

3 July 2020, 09:56

The Prime Minister answered questions form LBC listeners
The Prime Minister answered questions form LBC listeners. Picture: LBC
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Boris Johnson has indicated that he would not be prepared to "take the knee" in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

When asked by Nick Ferrari if he would "take the knee" the Prime Minister said "I don't believe in gestures. I believe in substance."

The PM said he believed in "doing things that make a practical difference," citing his time as Mayor of London, Mr Johnson said he "massively increased" BAME representation in the Metropolitan Police.

Mr Johnson said he wanted to see that happen "across the country."

He said he wanted to see "more young black kids going to some of the best universities in this country."

"Of course there are injustices that we need to rectify," he told LBC.

The PM said, "there is prejudice out there, and of course we need to fight it."

When Nick Ferrari asked if he was a "Raab or a Starmer" when it came to taking a knee the PM said his answer was that he didn't "want people to be bullied into doing things they don't necessarily want to do.

His comments came after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was criticised last month for saying he would only take the knee for "the Queen and the missus when I asked her to marry me".

Referencing the police officers who took a knee at the Cenotaph during Black Lives Matter demonstrations Mr Johnson said, "they were being insulted in quite aggressive terms."

The Prime Minister said while some of the officers did this made it "difficult for the others who didn't."

Mr Johnson said his position was that people should not do things that make it "difficult or embarrassing" for colleagues.

"If you think of what happened with those officers standing at the Cenotaph... They were being insulted in quite aggressive terms by members of the crowd and told to take the knee.

"Some of them did and it was very difficult for the others who didn't. That's my position," Mr Johnson told LBC.

The PM also told LBC he wants to see better black representation at the top of the Government.

"Of course we can do more and we will do more. We need to make progress and we will. I think about this a lot. It is something I want to get right. We need to reflect the country we serve," the Prime Minister told LBC radio.