London: London Mayor Boris Johnson is drawing a storm of criticism for suggesting President Barack Obama may have an "ancestral dislike of the British Empire" because of his Kenyan roots.
Obama has urged Britain to stay in the European Union, angering Johnson and others who want the country to leave the bloc.
Writing in The Sun newspaper, Johnson recounted a claim that a bust of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was removed from the Oval Office after Obama was elected and returned to the British Embassy. Johnson wrote that some said removing the bust "was a symbol of the part-Kenyan president's ancestral dislike of the British Empire, of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender."
Former Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell says Johnson's comment are "an unacceptable smear," while Labour Party lawmaker Diane Abbott says that "Boris dismissing president Obama as 'half-Kenyan' reflects the worst Tea Party rhetoric."
The White House has said that the Churchill bust is still in a prominent place in the presidential residence.