Iain Dale corners journalist branding Boris Johnson as a racist

21 June 2020, 16:40

By Seán Hickey

The Prime Minister's apparent racism from his days as a journalist was being taken out of context to serve an argument, Iain Dale argued.

Peter Oborne has written during the week comparing Boris Johnson's record on racism and attitude towards race with Enoch Powell, whose Rivers of Blood is known as one of the most inflammatory speeches of modern times. He joined Iain Dale to share his view, where no time was spared in the debate being sparked.

"We've always known about Boris Johnson's racist remarks" he began, adding that Boris Johnson's language is "very very disturbing by a British Prime Minister." He referenced a novel in which language not suited for radio was used, to which Iain argued that "those things were written in a novel" and do not reflect the Prime Minister's true feelings on racism.

"Johnson gets away with outrageous and politically incorrect comments that would destroy a lesser figure" Mr Oborne said, and insisted that his Conservative government are planning on turning "this very sensitive crisis about statues, Black Lives Matter into a war on woke."

Mr Oborne said that the Prime Minister is, rather than trying to solve race issues, trying to "flare them up in a Trumpian way."

Iain took exception to the comments of the journalist, reading out Mr Oborne's own words where he described Boris Johnson "shockingly liberal on immigration and race."

Iain argued "nothing has changed on that, has it?"

Things got heated between Iain Dale and Peter Oborne
Things got heated between Iain Dale and Peter Oborne. Picture: PA

Iain referenced the PM's commitment to amnesty for asylum seekers through his political career as a proof that he is not racist, only for Mr Oborne to point out "he's made no progress on that at all as Prime Minister."

Iain gave another instance of the PM's good work, noting that government have announced they will allow 300,000 Hong Kongers to settle in the UK amid a crisis in the state, while not ruling out the possibility of allowing 3 million. "That is not the action of a racist prime minister" Iain said, telling the journalist that these actions "completely undermine" his case.

Iain argued that "a lot of language used in these articles is being taken out of context" and then Mr Oborne wondered if Iain found it "ok to use racist language" and asked if Iain was racist.

"It is terribly insulting to say when you know the answer" Iain said, tensely stating that Mr Oborne has quoted the Prime Minister "without any context whatsoever."

The PM's former colleague concluded the debate by telling Iain that he still believes Boris Johnson is adopting a strategy of a "Trumpian attempt to use racial tensions to get support for this government."