Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Johnson rejects criticism over old article

Johnson rejects criticism over old article

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Boris Johnson dismissed criticism of an old article condemning single mothers and ‘feckless’ working-class men. BEN STANSALL/AFP

Johnson rejects criticism over old article

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday dismissed criticism of an old article he wrote condemning single mothers and “feckless” working-class men, saying the quotes were taken out of context.

In a newly unearthed article from 1995, when he was a journalist, Johnson described working-class men as “likely to be drunk, criminal, aimless, feckless and hopeless”.

The quotes were splashed across the front page of the left-wing Daily Mirror tabloid, under the tagline “What he really thinks”, putting them centre stage of the campaign for the December 12 election.

The newspaper also noted that in the article for the Spectator magazine, the Conservative leader had described children of single mothers as “ill-raised, ignorant, aggressive and illegitimate”.

“These are 25-year-old quotations culled from articles written I think before I was even in politics,” Johnson told LBC radio on Friday.

He said the “words are lifted out of context” and were an “absolute distortion” of what he believes.

He accused the opposition Labour party, which said the remarks were “outrageous”, of digging up old quotes to shift attention away from its policy on Brexit.

“They’re just trying to distract from the reality that they have no plan to get out us out of the European Union,” Johnson said.

Opinion polls currently show the Conservatives, who have promised to get Britain out of the bloc on January 31, are heading for victory next month.

A major survey on Wednesday suggested they would take several seats from Labour in traditional working-class areas in northern and central England.

Labour chairman Ian Lavery said Johnson’s remarks about working-class men were “outrageous”.

He accused Johnson of being “a man out of touch with reality and whose ignorance and hatred of working-class communities knows no bounds”.

Johnson has previously come under scrutiny for using offensive language in his articles, mostly written before entering politics – but some more recently.

Last year he was criticised for writing that Muslim women in full face veils looked like letter boxes, while defending their right to wear what they want.

The comments fuelled questions about a wider problem of Islamophobia in the Conservative party.

“When I write this stuff, I never set out to cause pain or hurt,” Johnson said on Friday, repeating a pledge for an independent inquiry into all forms of prejudice within his party.


  • Kingdom’s domestic milk still cannot compete with imports

    Price competition and a lack of confidence by consumers are the main reasons the dairy market cannot compete with imports, said domestic milk producers. The large displays of imported fresh milk at the Kingdom’s supermarkets present a cumbersome obstacle for local producers, they said.

  • ‘Pesticide-laden cucumbers’ kill two, poison 150 in Banteay Meanchey

    At least two youths have died and 243 others are being treated for vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, dizziness and muscle weakness after they ate cucumbers suspected to consist of pesticides. The incident happened on Saturday, said Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief Ath Khem. He told The

  • Three dead, 13 injured in collapse at Siem Reap pagoda

    At least three people were killed and more than 10 others injured on Monday after a dining hall under construction collapsed at Prasat Kokchak pagoda in Kokchak commune, Siem Reap province. Provincial police chief Tith Narong said Military Police, soldiers and local volunteers had successfully recovered 16

  • Forest Harmony’s $18M luxury villas break ground in Kampot

    Local and French joint-venture Forest Harmony has broken ground on its $18 million “second-home” Luxury Holiday Villas project in Kampot province. Century 21 Mekong CEO and local shareholder of the project Chrek Soknim told The Post that the project will comprise 90 villa units covering 18ha on a 97

  • China Unicom enters Cambodia

    China Unicom, the country’s largest telecoms operator, has expanded into Cambodia to build optical telecommunication pathways in the Kingdom as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Hong Kong-listed company officially opened its China Unicom (Cambodia) subsidiary on Monday to become the

  • PP-SHV Expressway on track for completion in early 2023

    The construction of the $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, which broke ground at the end of March, is on track to be completed by early 2023, Ministry of Public Works and Transport spokesman Vasim Sorya said on Monday. The 190km high-speed highway linking the capital to the