Senior Tories have been working hard to repair the damage Andrew Sabisky has done to their credibility – but it’s hard when their own prime minister is refusing to deny that he holds the same racist opinions.
Grant Shapps was the first to claim that Sabisky did not speak for the Conservative government.
He said over the weekend that Sabisky’s reported opinions were views that “neither I or the government share in any shape or form”.
But when a Downing Street spokesperson was asked whether Mr Shapps was speaking on behalf of the government, he replied that Johnson’s views were “well-documented”, adding: “The transport secretary was speaking as the transport secretary. I have answered the question on behalf of the prime minister.”
Of course it is impossible to deny that Johnson has those views; he has expressed them time and again.
For example, on the subject of black people’s IQs, shall we consider Johnson’s novel Seventy-two Virgins? Consider:
"He was a coon, and he was stupid, and he was stupid because he was a coon."
These are not the words of Andrew Sabisky.
These are the words of Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister, taken from his book 'Seventy Two Virgins'.
Surely it's time this racist now finally resigned too? pic.twitter.com/Nmfuf1RVhJ
— The Labour Leftie 🌹 (@TheLabourLeftie) February 18, 2020
And of course Johnson was forced to apologise in 2008, after he wrote an article in The Spectator saying that black people have lower IQs.
Meanwhile Mr Shapps has been joined in condemning this viewpoint by Kwasi Kwarteng, according to The Independent:
“Kwasi Kwarteng broke with Boris Johnson – who has thus far refused to condemn the departing aide – by branding his [Sabisky’s] past comments “racist”, “offensive” and “reprehensible”.
“Calling for an overhaul of recruitment, Kwarteng said: “I think we should prevent racists from coming into No10 or wherever he was working. I think we do need to look at these processes.”
“On Sabisky’s past writings, Kwarteng said: “It was completely reprehensible – they were racist remarks.””
Mind you, Kwarteng never had a word to say in opposition for the whole of the week that Sabisky was in position. Funny, that.
And Caroline Nokes, who was already on the record about this, attacked the prime minister’s office for being silent over Sabisky’s “abhorrent views”.
Again according to The Independent: “Unfortunately we had 48 hours of almost complete silence and no comment from Downing Street, who could have distanced themselves from his youthful comments at any point, but they chose not to do so.”
Nokes also said: “I think you want to have exciting ideas and energy around policy-making in Downing Street, what you don’t want is racism, sexism and the sort of abhorrent ideas that were present in this young man’s tweets.”
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what is in Downing Street – and will continue to be, for as long as Boris Johnson remains in office as prime minister.
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