‘Prime Minister, Say it Now, Black Lives Matter’: Boris Johnson Confronted Over U.S. Protests in Tense Parliament Showdown


Debate in the British House of Commons grew tense Wednesday — as U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was confronted over his silence following the killing of George Floyd, and his support for President Donald Trump.

In a heated confrontation, Scottish National Party parliamentary leader Ian Blackford grilled Johnson over the U.K. government largely standing on the sidelines in the aftermath of Floyd’s death — even as protests have taken place in Great Britain.

“In the seven days since George Floyd was murdered, the U.K. government has not even offered words, and has not expressed its pain. It has shuttered itself in the hope that no one would notice,” Blackford said. He added, “Can I ask the prime minister what representations has he made to his ally Donald Trump? And at the very least, prime minister, say it now: Black Lives Matter.”

“Of course Black Lives Matter,” Johnson replied. “And I totally understand the anger, the grief, that is felt not just in America, but around the world and in our country as well. I totally understand that and I get that. And I also support, as I’ve said, the right to protest.”

Blackford noted that Johnson ducked his query about support for Trump, and went on to detail that the U.K. has exported riot control gear to America.

I’m afraid, Mr. Speaker, that the prime minister didn’t answer the question about what representations has he made to his friend Donald Trump. It is imperative that the U.K. is vocal on human rights, freedom to gather and protest, freedom of speech, and upholding press freedom in other parts of the world. It would be nothing short of hypocrisy if we were to turn a blind eye to events unfolding in the U.S. However, actions speak louder than words.

And the prime minister can shake his head. But the U.K. exports millions of pounds of riot control equipment to the U.S., including tear gas and rubber bullets. The prime minister must have seen how these weapons are used on American streets. With the government’s own guidance, warning against equipment being used in such ways, will the prime minister urgently review such exports?

Johnson replied that he would look into complaints, and defended the U.K. as “the most scrupulous country in the world” in scrutinizing such transactions.

Watch above, via C-SPAN2

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Joe DePaolo is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: joed@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @joe_depaolo