Campaigners have been coming out in the hundreds in a quest to oust Boris Johnson at the next general election. While they point to a series of blunders by the Foreign Secretary, Johnson also has a horrific record. According to a new report, Britain has been selling millions of pounds’ worth of arms to alleged war criminals. And Johnson is at the very heart of the scandal.
This could arguably gain the movement to oust Johnson some serious credibility.
Campaigners came out for a rally in Uxbridge on Sunday 23 July, using the online hashtag #UnseatBoris:
Journalist Owen Jones insisted in a Huffington Post piece that unseating the MP was a real possibility:
In 2015, Johnson had a majority of nearly 10,700; in June, that more than halved to just over 5,000 votes. What makes this even more extraordinary is this was achieved when Labour was fighting a defensive campaign.
He also said the case against Johnson was very clear:
Here is a man who was sacked for lying twice… He has made repeatedly bigoted statements… was once recorded discussing with a friend the possibility of a journalist being beaten up… And as Foreign Secretary, he is reducing this great country to an international laughing stock.
But Johnson’s record is even more sinister than that.
Do that deal
The rally took place as The Guardian revealed that, since a devastating air strike by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen in October 2016, the British government has approved £283m of arms sales to Saudi Arabia regardless. Hundreds of those killed and wounded in the attack were allegedly civilians. Human Rights Watch, meanwhile, called the attack an “apparent war crime”, requiring an independent international investigation.
And it was reportedly Boris Johnson who convinced colleagues to keep approving sales to Saudi Arabia nonetheless. He apparently believed that Saudi Arabia was “improving processes” and “taking action to address failures/individual incidents”.
Saudi Arabia has come under international pressure to stop airstrikes in Yemen, which often hit civilians. The humanitarian impact on the population from the civil war that started in 2015 has been one of the worst in the world. This has included an unprecedented cholera outbreak and near famine.
On a number of occasions, UK-made weapons were found to have been used in unlawful acts. But reports into it were allegedly whitewashed by the government. And by reportedly providing ‘secret evidence’, the government also recently managed to convince the High Court that UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia were legal.
Johnson may be notorious for his gaffes, and often written off as ‘buffoonish‘. But turning a blind eye to war crimes in order to make the UK money is much more than just a gaffe. It makes unseating Johnson perhaps more valid and necessary than ever before.
– Ask Theresa May and your MP to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia. And sign the petition to stop Saudi arms sales.
– Join or support the Stop the War Coalition. Show your support for Veterans for Peace, who are fighting for peaceful solutions to the world’s problems. And take action with the Campaign Against Arms Trade.
– Support The Canary if you appreciate the work we do. Also see more Canary articles on Boris Johnson, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the arms trade; and for more Global articles, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured image via Financial Times/Flickr