UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused of pushing racial stereotypes over a newly-unearthed column written during his time as editor of the Spectator in which he said young people had “an almost Nigerian interest in money”.
Mr Johnson has been under pressure in recent months over a series of comments he made during his career as a columnist, writer and editor, including referring to black people as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles” and arguing Islam has caused the Muslim world to be “literally centuries behind” the west.
The new columns emerged after the chancellor, Sajid Javid, refused seven times to say whether he would use the terms “bank robber” or “letterbox” to describe Muslim women who wear a burka, as Johnson did last year.
The Prime Minister wrote in a diary piece for the Independent on Sunday in October 1999 that Tony Blair had made people feel good about getting rich.
He added: “All the young people I know – ie those under 30 – are just as avaricious as we flinty Thatcherite yuppies of the 1980s in fact, they have an almost Nigerian interest in money and gadgets of all kinds.”
Weyman Bennett, the co-convenor of Stand Up to Racism, described Johnson’s words as “deeply racist and offensive,” The Guardian writes.
He said: “This can be added to the ‘piccaninnies’ and ‘watermelon smiles’, the abject refusal to properly apologise and change his behaviour around racism.
“Boris Johnson is unfit to be a prime minister that represents the entire United Kingdom. He had demonstrated this by lying and falsely representing black, Asian and different communities inside this country.
“This is deeply offensive and unforgivable and should not be ignored and he should be held to account.”
Reacting, Labour said the comments followed a pattern of sexist and misogynistic words and behaviour by Johnson.
Shami Chakrabarti, the shadow attorney general, said: “These unearthed comments further reveal Boris Johnson’s contempt for women and families, as he hypocritically attacks what he appallingly describes as ‘illegitimate’ children.”