ALLIES: Ms May met with the King of Saudi Arabia earlier this month and was quick to slap down Boris Johnson’s comments Theresa May has visited Bahrain for the GCC Summit 2016. She is the British Prime Minister, and first ever woman, first woman to address Gulf leaders at their annual Gulf Cooperation Council Summ
British Prime Minister Theresa May has been quick to distance the government from comments made by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, which claimed Saudi Arabia and Iran were causing proxy wars throughout the Middle East.
In the latest of Mr Johnson’s apparent public gaffes, he told an audience in Rome last week that the absence of true leadership in the Middle East had resulted in people being allowed to distort religion, resulting in war.
“You've got the Saudis, Iran, everybody, moving in, and puppeteering and playing proxy wars. And it is a tragedy to watch it,” Johnson said.
“There are politicians who are twisting and abusing religion and different strains of the same religion in order to further their own political objectives. That's one of the biggest political problems in the whole region.”
MISTAKE: Boris Johnson’s comments on Saudi Arabia and war have caused controversy in government
Although in the latter quote he does not directly refer to Saudi Arabia or any neighbouring country in particular, the initial quote is one which caused controversy at Number 10.
The Prime Minister’s quick response to the comments, underline the importance she places on a strong alliance with Saudi Arabia - a major customer for British defence companies.
The spokeswoman for Ms May said: “Those are the foreign secretary's views, they are not the government's position on for example Saudi and its role in the region."
May, who visited the Middle East this week, met Saudi King Salman and said afterwards: “[We] set out very clearly the government's view on our relationship with Saudi Arabia, that it is a vital partner for the UK particularly on counter-terrorism.
“We want to strengthen that relationship.”
Her spokeswoman said May still supported her foreign secretary, adding that Johnson would have the ‘opportunity to set out the way that the UK sees its relationship with Saudi Arabia’ during a visit to the region.
ACCUSED: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has reportedly told a number of high-ranking diplomats that he supports freedom of movement
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been accused of telling at least four EU ambassadors that he supports freedom of movement, despite campaigning against the policy during the EU referendum.
The leading ‘Leave’ campaigner had previously written to then Prime Minister, David Cameron, saying: “We are particularly concerned about the impact of free movement in the future on public services.
“Class sizes will rise and waiting lists will lengthen if we don't tackle free movement.”
However, despite the message, the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, has now told a number of high-ranking diplomats that he
Speaking under Chatham House rule, which enables comments to be reported but not directly attributed, one ambassador told reporters: “[Boris Johnson] told us he was personally in favour of it, but he said that Britain had been more affected by free movement of people than other EU member states.”
Another added: “He did say he was personally in favour of free movement, as it corresponds to his own beliefs. But he said it wasn't government policy.”
Following the reports, a spokesman for the Foreign Secretary said there was no evidence that Mr Johnson had made such remarks.
“Boris said what he has said many times before - he is pro-immigration but wants to take back control to limit numbers,” the spokesman said.
“He did not say he supported freedom of movement and challenges anyone to show proof that he ever said that.”
Critics of the Foreign Secretary have highlighted their disapproval of the alleged comments, with Liberal Democrat EU spokesman, Nick Clegg, accusing Mr Johnson of ‘treating the voters like fools’.
The comments are also contradictory to the government’s standpoint following the Brexit vote, with Prime Minister Theresa May saying that controlling immigration is a priority in the EU exit negotiations.
At the Conservative Party Conference in October, she said: “We have voted to leave the European Union and become a fully independent, sovereign country. We will do what independent, sovereign countries do - decide for ourselves how we control immigration.”
The European Parliament describes the freedom of movement in the EU as the ‘cornerstone of Union membership’.
With a deadline set for the end of March 2017 for the triggering of Article 50 – which begins the official Brexit negotiations, the government have vowed to reach a deal which will cap immigration figures into the UK.
SHOCK AND DRAMA: Michael Gove effectively torpedoed Boris Johnson’s chances for Prime Minister by announcing his own surprise bid for the top job
Boris Johnson will not be the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after being ‘stabbed in the back’ by long-time ally Michael Gove.
Justice Secretary Mr Gove threw the book at the former London Mayor this week, saying that Mr Johnson was not the right person to lead the country and instead revealed he would run for leader.
In a speech in London, billed as his campaign launch, Mr Johnson admitted that he did not believe he could provide the leadership or unity needed after Gove’s shock announcement.
It was the biggest political surprise since Prime Minister David Cameron quit after losing last week's referendum on British membership of the European Union.
So who’s in the running to be next Prime Minister?
BOOKIES’ FAVOURITE: Theresa May is the favourite to become the next leader of the country
The bookies' favourite to win the contest is Home Secretary Theresa May.
The 59-year-old has held the Home Office since 2010, and is a former Tory party chairman.
She says she can offer the ‘strong leadership’ and unity the UK needs, and promised a ‘positive vision’ for the country's future. She was one of the Tories who backed staying in the EU but she told a news conference that ‘Brexit means Brexit.’
Mrs May said: “The campaign was fought, the vote was held, turnout was high and the public gave their verdict. There must be no attempts to remain inside the EU, no attempts to rejoin it through the back door and no second referendum.”
The aforementioned Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, was a key figure in the party’s modernisation that led to its return to power in 2010.
He was a leading player in the Brexit campaign - which put a strain on his close friendship with David Cameron. He has pitched himself as the candidate that can provide ‘unity and change’.
Forty-three-year-old, Stephen Crabb, is also a rising star of the Tory party after he took over as Works and Pensions Secretary. He has promised to unite the party and country following the referendum result and provide stability.
Energy minister Andrea Leadsom was one of the movers and shakers of the Leave campaign. A former district councillor, she became MP for South Northamptonshire in 2010 and - after serving as a junior Treasury minister and as a member of the Treasury select committee - she was made a junior minister in the energy and climate change department in May last year.
Former cabinet minister Liam Fox’s cabinet career was cut short in 2011 when he resigned following a lobbying row. A Brexit campaigner, and on the right of the party, he has said whoever becomes PM must accept ‘the instruction’ of the British people and not ‘try to backslide’ over EU membership.
As the political drama played out, Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned about “heightened uncertainty”, noting the potential for increased unemployment and ripples in the global economy.
He added: “One uncomfortable truth is that there are limits to what the Bank of England can do.”
Muslim children who risk radicalisation by their parents should be taken into care, Boris Johnson has said.
Writing in his weekly Daily Telegraph column, the London mayor said such children were victims of child abuse.
“Children at risk of radicalisation should be in care”
Mr Johnson said they should be removed from their families to stop them being turned into "potential killers or suicide bombers".
The Muslim Council of Britain warned Mr Johnson's remarks risked inflaming anti-Muslim feeling.
In his article, he warned that some young people were being "taught crazy stuff" similar to the views expressed by the two men who killed Fusilier Lee Rigby on a south-east London street.
Mr Johnson wrote: "At present, there is a reluctance by the social services to intervene, even when they and the police have clear evidence of what is going on, because it is not clear that the 'safeguarding law' would support such action.
"A child may be taken into care if he or she is being exposed to pornography, or is being abused - but not if the child is being habituated to this utterly bleak and nihilistic view of the world that could lead them to become murderers."
He added: "I have been told of at least one case where the younger siblings of a convicted terrorist are well on the road to radicalisation - and it is simply not clear that the law would support intervention.
"This is absurd. The law should obviously treat radicalisation as a form of child abuse.
"It is the strong view of many of those involved in counter-terrorism that there should be a clearer legal position, so that those children who are being turned into potential killers or suicide bombers can be removed into care - for their own safety and for the safety of the public."
Speaking on his monthly phone-in on LBC Radio, he said he had thought long and hard before making the case for intervention in what he suspected might be "no more than a few hundred" cases.
"It is particularly apposite in view of the sentencing of the killers of Drummer Lee Rigby," he said.
"The question is, how do we stop this happening again? How do we make sure the kids in London are not growing up with these kind of nightmarish ideas in their heads?
"You can tackle the extremist preachers, you can do all sorts of things in the mosques... but one thing that has been brought to my attention is this particular anomaly that you can have in some cases, some kids who are being put at risk by the desire of their parents or their step-parents, their immediate family, to radicalise them."
Asked whether the children of BNP activists could also be taken into care, Mr Johnson said this might be justified in "extreme" cases, such as if they were being taught that race-based assaults were acceptable.
"It all depends on the interests of the child," he added. "It depends what is happening. If that child is being taught to want to commit crime, or be full of hate, then I imagine you might contemplate such a thing."
However, the Muslim Council of Britain called on politicians to stop seeking "easy headlines" and warned Mr Johnson's remarks could provoke anti-Muslim hatred.
"After the terrible murder of Lee Rigby - condemned by Muslims throughout the country - there was a huge spike in Islamophobic attacks", a spokesman said.
"The people responsible for the murder of Lee Rigby were not sons of radical extremists, nor were those who committed previous atrocities. To tackle their extremism we need to look beyond the need to generate easy headlines."
The spokesman said young people of all faiths "do not need politicians threatening the prospects of living in a Big Brother Society".
A spokesman for the anti-extremist think-tank, the Quilliam Foundation, agreed with Mr Johnson's points about a "fatal squeamishness" about intervening in the behaviour of a "protected group".
He said the law must be "fairly and equally applied to all members of society, both in terms of protection and in terms of prosecution".
But the Foundation said changing the law to enable intervention when children are merely at risk of radicalisation was "dangerous territory", adding that there was little academic evidence to suggest parents played a key role in radicalisation.
"Non-violent extremism must be challenged, but not through illiberal legislation that is likely to do more harm than good. It is better to challenge the ideology and the narrative, rather than to alienate and malign individuals", the spokesman said.