'What did we do in Second World War?': Former UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson couldn't keep facts straight on visit to Portugal

In the latest addition to gaffes by former UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson, the BBC released footage of Johnson in Portugal trying to film an introductory video for his official Twitter feed, and getting it wrong.

FP Staff November 28, 2018 10:01:14 IST
'What did we do in Second World War?': Former UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson couldn't keep facts straight on visit to Portugal

In the latest addition to gaffes by former UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson, the BBC released footage of Johnson in Portugal trying to film an introductory video for his official Twitter feed — and getting all the facts about the southern European nation completely wrong.

In the video, which was released as part of BBC's show 'Inside the Foreign Office', Johnson messes up facts which range from the UK's role during World War II, to the birthplace of popular character James Bond.

In the video, the former Mayor of London said, “I’m here in Lisbon in Portugal to celebrate what is the oldest alliance and friendship in diplomatic history, going back to 1386, going forward through the Napoleonic Wars through to the Second World War, when of course this was a place that, was…

He then asked his aides,"I’m trying to think what happened in the Second World War, cut this for a second, what did we do in the Second World War. It was neutral, wasn’t it?"

Johnson tried another line about the two countries' trade equation and seamlessly claimed that Portugal is the UK's fourth largest trading partner. The aides had to point out that the fact was actually the other way around, with the UK being Portugal's fourth largest trading partner.

Eventually, moving on from politics, Johnson attempts to highlight the closeness of the relationship between the two countries by claiming that James Bond was born in the town of Estoril. However, he missed the mark again, as aides corrected him to say that the character was conceptualised by author Ian Flemming in Estoril.

The video has garnered shocked responses from social media users, as they question Johnson's capability and wondered if he was at all suitable to occupy the office of foreign secretary which he once did.

In the past, Johnson has made several faux-pas of a similar nature, for instance when he uttered racial slurs calling people of colour “flag-waving piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”, or when he compared the European Union (EU) to the Nazi Germany regime. He had said that the EU was using methods from the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, as the organisation shared the aim of unifying Europe under one “authority”.

A report by The Independent said, "At the Conservative Party conference Johnson was widely condemned after claiming the Libyan city of Sirte would have a bright future as a luxury resort once they “cleared the dead bodies away”".

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