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UK minister red-faced after accidentally slamming Johnson's 'terrorism' views

Michael Fallon leapt on the opportunity to criticise Jeremy Corbyn [Channel 4]

Date of publication: 27 May, 2017

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UK Defence Minister Michael Fallon was left red-faced on live television after mistakenly attacking Foreign Minister Boris Johnson's views on the causes of terrorism.
UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon floundered under pressure on live television on Saturday after attacking a statement on terrorism he mistakenly believed was made by opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Fallon was left red faced when it was revealed that the quote was in fact made by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Speaking to Fallon on Friday, Channel 4 presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy asked the defence chief to respond to the following quote:

"Isn't it possible that things like the Iraq war did not create the problem of murderous Islamic fundamentalists, though the war has unquestionably sharpened the resentments felt by such people in this country and given them a new pretext?"

Assuming that the words were part of Corbyn's controversial speech a day earlier on the causes of terrorism, Fallon jumped the gun and condemned the statement.

"Well they are not entitled to excuses," He said.

Guru-Murthy then revealed that the words were in fact those of Fallon's fellow Conservative Party and cabinet member Johnson following the London 7/7 bombings in 2005.

Presented with another quote, the foreign secretary found himself in a deeper predicament.

"He goes on to say, 'The Iraq war did not introduce the poison into our bloodstream but, yes, the war did help to potentiate that poison'," Guru-Murthy said.

"It is difficult to deny that they have a point, the 'told-you-so' brigade'," he added, quoting Johnson. 

Fallond responded: "Well I don't agree with that."

Seeing the defence secretary under pressure and stumbling on his words, Guru-Murthy prodded further as the Fallon stared on in increasing discomfort.

"So Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, is wrong?" Guru-Murthy asked.

Fallon's misfired shot at Corbyn came after election campaigning officially resumed on Friday, following a brief pause in the aftermath of Monday's deadly attack in Manchester, in which 22 people were killed.

Speaking in London, Corbyn re-launched his campaign by saying that his Labour Party would "change what we do abroad" if it was elected to government.

He also emphasised that the link between foreign policy and domestic terrorism "in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children' and could not 'remotely excuse, or even adequately explain, outrages like this week's massacre".

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