Boris Johnson says he won’t ‘take the knee’ because he believes in ‘substance not gestures’
- Credit: AFP via Getty Images
Boris Johnson has said he will not 'take the knee' in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, because he believes in 'substance' not 'gestures', whilst also being questioned why there were not more black people at the top of government.
Speaking on an LBC radio phone-in, the prime minister - who was pictured performing a press-up on the front of the Daily Mail on Saturday - expressed concern that some had been pressurised into doing so following the death of George Floyd in the United States.
'I don't want people to be bullied into doing things they don't necessarily want to do,' he said.
'If you think of what happened with those police officers standing at the Cenotaph, where they were being insulted in quite aggressive terms by some members of the crowd and told to take the knee.
'Some of them did and it was very difficult then for the others who didn't. That's my position.
You may also want to watch:
'I think it is very, very important that you don't do things that make life difficult or embarrassing.'
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'.
Johnson said he believed in practical action to tackle prejudice and discrimination, highlighting his record in promoting black police officers while London mayor.
- 1 The stench of scandal seeping out from Britain
- 2 Why is devout Jacob Rees-Mogg so quiet about Boris Johnson's affairs?
- 3 Major and Blair were right about Brexit and Northern Ireland
- 4 Dominic Cummings' new venture could cause concern for No 10
- 5 Roman Kemp: Depression and coping with George Michael's death
- 6 The symbolism behind the reopening of pubs
- 7 Why are there so few BAME faces on the fronts of our newspapers?
- 8 David Cameron and Matt Hancock discussed NHS scheme over 'private drink'
- 9 Government deletes pro-Scottish independence blog post
- 10 PM chooses not to attend Prince Philip’s funeral because of guest limits
'I don't believe in gestures, I believe in substance. I believe in doing things that make a practical difference. Of course there are injustices that we need to rectify. There is prejudice out there. We need to fight it,' he said.
The prime minister was also asked why there were not more black people at the top of government.
He acknowledged that, while there are a number of a black and Asian minority ethnic ministers in the government, there are just two in the cabinet and neither is black.
'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,' he said.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.