A Boris Johnson joke that the UK could become “Saudi Arabia of criminal policy” under Priti Patel has been condemned as “disgusting” and a “new low” by opposition politicians.
The Prime Minister made the remarks, which can be viewed in video footage obtained and reported by Business Insider, during a closed-door speech at a Conservative Party fundraiser on September 10.
“To use the immortal words of Priti Patel or Michael Howard or another hard-line Home Secretary, addressing inmates in one of our biggest prisons: it’s fantastic to see so many of you here” Johnson told the 300 attendees at the luncheon, which took place at the InterContinental London Park Lane in Mayfair.
He then joked that the UK was becoming “the Saudi Arabia of criminal policy” under Patel in comments on the work on renewable energy. “I said last year that we were the Saudi Arabia of the wind. Probably Saudi Arabia’s criminal policy, under the leadership of our wonderful Home Secretary, ”Johnson said.
Saudi Arabia is one of the most punitive regimes in the world. It is one of the few countries to apply the death penalty by beheading and has long been accused of serious human rights violations, including the torture of activists. It can impose the death penalty for homosexuality and many drug-related offenses.
Patel has previously indicated her support for the death penalty as a “deterrent” for serious crimes, although she has since denied it and suggested she was not an “active supporter” of politics.
Deputy Labor Party leader Angela Rayner called the Prime Minister’s comments “disgusting”. She tweeted: “Saudi Arabia is beheading its own citizens, torturing activists exercising their democratic rights and killing gays. It’s disgusting. As always with Boris Johnson behind closed doors, the mask slips and we see what he really thinks. “
Alistair Carmichael, Lib Dem’s home affairs spokesman, said the comments marked a “new low” for the prime minister. He added: “Saudi Arabia’s appalling human rights record is no joke. We have real and serious problems with crime and the rule of law in our country that deserve better than sloppy punchlines behind closed doors.
“British police officers facing the Prime Minister’s pay cuts will certainly not be laughing. Boris Johnson may admire his friends in the Saudi dictatorship, but he cannot escape the fact that his Conservative government is failing miserably to do what really works to prevent crime.
During his speech at the event, the Conservative Party’s first major fundraising event since the start of the pandemic, Johnson praised the role of the private sector in the pandemic.
“And who invented this vaccine, my friends? Was it produced in the laboratories of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs? Was it Public Health England? Was it the NHS? No! No, it wasn’t. No, it was the private sector, it was big pharma, it was the British pharmaceutical industry, ”said the Prime Minister.
Johnson also boasted that he was “the only politician who defended [the bankers] In 2008 “.” We are, fundamentally, the party of enterprise and wealth creation. And I salute the City of London, embodied here, and I always defend the wonderful bankers, “he said. he declared, then referring to the role of capital in carrying out his “leveling up” program.
Participants paid up to £ 500 for tickets to the three-course lunch, raising “a substantial sum of money” for the Cities of London & Westminster Conservative Association as well as the Conservative Campaign Headquarters and others. groups, according to the event brochure.
Downing Street has been approached for comment.