Sunday 19 November 2017

Boris Johnson 'caught on camera quoting colonial poem in Myanmar temple'

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (Pavel Neubauer/TASR via AP)
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (Pavel Neubauer/TASR via AP)

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson has reportedly been caught on camera part-reciting a colonial poem in a temple in Myanmar before being stopped by an ambassador.

Mr Johnson was said to have begun quoting the opening lines of Mandalay during a visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, the capital of Myanmar.

The poem by Rudyard Kipling is written through the eyes of a retired British serviceman in the country, also known as Burma, which Britain colonised for more than a century.

The Guardian, reporting on the footage due to be broadcast by Channel 4, said the British ambassador Andrew Patrick stopped Mr Johnson mid-flow, and before he recited the line "Bloomin' idol made o' mud/ Wot they called the Great Gawd Budd" - a reference to Buddha.

Mr Patrick is reported to have told Mr Johnson: "You're on mic. Probably not a good idea", to which the Unxbridge MP said: "What, The Road to Mandalay?"

The ambassador replies: "No. Not appropriate."

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office declined to comment.

Boris Johnson: Blond Ambition is on Channel 4 on Sunday at 10.05pm

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