Boris Johnson under fire for child abuse inquiry comments

Former foreign secretary said spending police budgets on historic investigations is ‘spaffing money up the wall’

Boris Johnson
Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson
(Image credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Labour MPs are calling for action to be taken against Boris Johnson after the former foreign secretary said investigations into historic child sex abuse are a waste of money.

Speaking on LBC radio yesterday, the Tory MP said: “One comment I would make is I think an awful lot of money and an awful lot of police time now goes into these historic offences and all this malarkey.

“You know, £60m I saw was being spaffed up a wall on some investigation into historic child abuse and all this kind of thing. What on earth is that going to do to protect the public now?”

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Johnson, who is the current favourite to succeed Theresa May as leader of the Conservative party, made the comments during a phone-in discussion on crime and policing.

The Daily Mirror’s associate editor Kevin McGuire said the MP’s comments “were a new low, even for him” and predicted that Johnson would be forced to apologise to abuse survivors.

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner was among those demanding an apology. “This self-serving individual makes a career out of gaffes but this is truly awful stuff,” she tweeted.

Johnson has frequently come under fire for using offensive language. In the past he has described black people as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”, called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a “wankerer”, and said women in burkas looked like “letter boxes” or “bank robbers”.

Labour MP Laura Smith said she had made a formal complaint to the government chief whip, Julian Smith, calling on him to take “swift action” against Johnson.

“His remarks are deeply offensive to all those victims of historic sexual abuse” and “the language he has used is abhorrent and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms”, she tweeted.

A spokesperson for the NSPCC also condemned the Conservative MP. “Bringing child abuse perpetrators to justice is not a ‘malarkey’ and such crass language is an affront to victims who have suffered in silence for decades,” they said.

Despite the growing criticism, The Guardian reports that an ally of Johnson said he had no intention of apologising or clarifying his remarks. The MP was apparently “making the point that spending tens of millions on historic cases where an alleged perpetrator was dead should not be the priority when the cash could be used on front line policing and tackling knife crime”, reports the newspaper.

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