Prime Minister Theresa May has ensured that it is made clear that British Foreign secretary Boris Johnson’s comments regarding Saudi Arabia and the role that they play in the middle east is not reflective of actual British government thinking. The error prone foreign secretary has been lambasted for his views on the oil rich country.
It will make for an awkward meeting as Mr Johnson is due to fly to the country this weekend for meetings with politicians there. The Prime Minister will be extra careful to ensure that the visit goes to plan, and that Mr Johnson toes the party line. Business between the two countries is extremely important, as the UK holds many contracts with Saudi Arabia. Of these contracts, many are extremely profitable defense contracts that are hugely important to British industry.
It is understood that Mr Johnson has accused the country of being ran by “politicians who are twisting and abusing religion and different strains of the same religion in order to further their own political objectives” and stated that they were involved in “proxy wars” in the region. The comments were made at a conference that the foreign secretary was attending in Rome last week, but have only just come to light. In his speech he inferred that politicians were not prepared to come out from behind their religious feelings and unite in order to push the country forward.
The news could barely come at a worse time for the Prime Minister, after recently touring the Gulf in order to allay fears after Britain’s referendum result. In what was an attempt to ensure that a smooth relationship continued, this release from the foreign secretary could indeed cause much embarrassment behind the scenes. Though many will launch in to the “I told you so” territory, as many eyebrows were raised on Mr Johnson’s promotion to the job. He’s well known for having his own voice, and when it comes to the subtleties of international diplomacy this isn’t always well received.
What is clear is that Mr Johnson will have learned a vital lesson in being more guarded with his comments, this episode may prove what many believe to be true, that he’s not able to be trusted on international diplomacy. In the long run this may heavily affect the former London mayor’s potential tilt for the top job, that he’s so often been noted as being the right choice for.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.