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'Hang on a second': Boris Johnson struggles for words in interview about Queen's Speech

Johnson was grilled on the measures the speech highlighted to tackle the UK’s “burning injustices”.

Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Images

UK FOREIGN MINISTER Boris Johnson repeatedly paused, sighed and said “hang on a second” in a radio interview last night as he struggled to explain the basic key points of the Queen’s speech.

Yesterday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May presented eight draft laws to take Britain out of the European Union in a legislative programme read out in parliament by Queen Elizabeth II.

The foreign minister then did interviews with Channel 4 News, Sky News and Radio 4′s PM to promote the Conservative’s legislative priorities for the new parliament.

Johnson landed himself in a sticky situation during his BBC Radio 4 interview as presenter Eddie Mair questioned him about plans outlined by May in her first speech as Prime Minister, specifically those measures related to tackling “burning injustices”.

Mair kicked off the interview by asking Johnson what the Queen’s speech does to ensure the criminal justice system “stops treating black people more harshly than white”.

Following a pause, Johnson replied:

Well, there are measures, I believe, in the bill on the courts which I think is supposed to address some of those issues.
I think one thing in particular that we are looking at is measures to …hang on a second …there are all sorts of measures that we want to take to ensure that we do not discriminate against everybody.

In his next question, Mair asked Johnson about mental health care.

It was at this point that Johnson tried to return to the first question, only to be told by Mair: “It’s not a Two Ronnies sketch, you can’t answer that question before last.”

Mair answered his own question and outlined what the speech said:

It promises a review on the laws on mental health and a discussion paper on children’s mental health. There are no policies, just a review and a discussion from a party that has been in government for seven years.

He asked Johnson why so many measures from the Conservative manifesto had been ditched just two weeks after the election.

The measures included the pension triple lock, reforming social care, an energy cap, a vote on the hunting act and changes to the winter fuel allowance.

“13 million people voted for these policies and, poof, they’re going,” Mair said.

Johnson gave a more honest answer: “I’m not going to hide it from you that the election did not turn out exactly as we would have hoped.

“It’s our job to form a government if we possibly can and to get on with what I think is a very progressive Queen’s speech.”

Read: Taoiseach urged to seek EU support to put more pressure on Egypt to release Ibrahim Halawa

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