In an interview yesterday, Boris Johnson refused to reveal the “naughtiest” thing he has ever done, quipping that it would be “terminally politically damaging” to his career.
This is not surprising. Given the “naughty” information about the Prime Minister that is already available in the public domain, the “naughtiest” thing he has ever done could be pretty unfathomable.
Here are just some of these “naughty” things Boris Johnson has done.
Conspiring to assault a journalist
No, really. In 1990, Boris Johnson’s friend Darius Guppy called Johnson, then a journalist, asking him to supply the address of a News of the World reporter who was onto his dodgy business crimes.
This friend of Johnson said he wanted to send someone over to the journalist’s house, to give him “a couple of black eyes”.
Boris Johnson replied, “I’ll do it”.
Calling Muslim women “letterboxes”
When writing for The Telegraph, Johnson used one of his columns to target ethnic minority women. Among the more offensive of his descriptions, he called Muslim women who wear the burqa “letterboxes” and said they looked like “bank robbers”. Given that this insult was used against a Muslim women in a supermarket recently, it’s clear that his language has set a precedent for what is and isn’t deemed acceptable.
Johnson has also said that African people have “watermelon smiles”. It is not surprising that he has, therefore, been accused of racism by his Parliamentary colleagues and a bank boss said his language would render him unemployable in the world of finance.
Contributing to the imprisonment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
While Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson said that charity worker, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, was in Iran because she was “teaching journalism” (she wasn’t). His words were then cited when the Irani government imprisoned her for “propaganda against the regime”. Despite his gaffe clearly having consequences, he has refused to apologise for his actions.
In September, Boris Johnson attempted to suspend Parliament in order to limit the time available for MPs to scrutinise his Brexit plans.
Unsurprisingly, his authoritarian move resulted in public outcry, and a successful court case which deemed the move unlawful. Johnson returned to Parliament despite many calling on the Prime Minister to resign.
Making misleading claims during the EU referendum campaign
During the 2016 EU referendum campaign, Boris Johnson claimed that the UK would save £350 million a year from leaving the EU, which could be spent on the NHS. His claim, which he painted on the side of a massive bus, was then found to be “a clear misuse of official statistics”.
Dominic Cummings, who ran the Vote Leave campaign and now effectively operates 10 Downing Street, has said the false £350m claim won the referendum.
Facilitating threats to MPs
There has been an increase in threats issued to MPs in recent months, particularly female MPs. Boris Johnson has dismissed these concerns, despite a Labour MP receiving a threat using the very same language that the Prime Minister has used.
The PM has refused to apologise for his role in the increasingly toxic atmosphere that’s risking the safety of MPs.
All this makes Theresa May’s naughtiest moment – running through a field of wheat – seem relatively angelic.