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Boris Johnson asked whether Angela Merkel was in the Stasi and questioned why Leo Varadkar isn't 'called Murphy like all the rest of them?'

Business Insider logoBusiness Insider 19/07/2019 Adam Bienkov
Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie Boris Johnson
  • Boris Johnson reportedly asked aides whether Angela Merkel was in the Stasi and questioned why Leo Varadkar isn't "called Murphy like all the rest of them?"
  • The comments were made while he was foreign secretary, according to the Financial Times.
  • Johnson has previously called the French "turds" and compared the EU to the Nazis.
  • The revelation comes as Johnson prepares to replace Theresa May as prime minister next week.
  • Johnson has insisted that his first act will be to seek to renegotiate a Brexit deal with EU leaders.

Boris Johnson was reportedly heard asking aides whether Angela Merkel was in East Germany's Stasi police and questioned why the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar isn't "called Murphy like all the rest of them?"

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The comments were revealed by the Financial Times' journalist Philip Stephens, who reports that Johnson's previous comparisons between the European Union and Nazi Germany, destroyed trust between EU leaders and the man likely to become the United Kingdom's prime minister next week.

Related: Whitehall fears Brexit backlash from a Johnson government

© Reuters

Stephens writes that: "At the Foreign Office [Johnson] was heard to muse as to whether Chancellor Angela Merkel had served in East Germany's Stasi secret police. French president Emmanuel Macron was a 'jumped-up Napoleon.'

"As for Ireland's prime minister, Leo Varadkar, 'Why isn't he called Murphy like all the rest of them'," adding that "such jibes find a way back to foreign capitals."

Related: Hammond signals he could vote to bring down Johnson

During the Brexit referendum campaign, Johnson claimed that the EU was trying to create a superstate, as Hitler did.

Related: Boris Johnson's career in pictures (Photos)

Johnson was also filmed referring to the French as "turds," in comments which were removed from a BBC documentary.

The remarks are the latest in a long-line of offensive comments by the former foreign secretary.

In the past Johnson has called black Africans "piccaninnies" with "watermelon smiles," referred to Papua New Guinea-style orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing, and suggested that former US President Barack Obama had a "part-Kenyan... ancestral dislike of the British Empire."

Related: MPs vote to block Johnson from forcing through no-deal Brexit

The latest revelation come as the overwhelming favourite to replace May as prime minister, prepares to seek a renegotiation of the UK's Brexit deal with the EU.

Johnson has insisted that the current Withdrawal Agreement is "dead" unless the controversial Northern Ireland "backstop" provision within it is removed completely.

Related: Johnson's worst diplomatic gaffes (DW)

EU negotiators have repeatedly insisted that the backstop, which ensures that no hard border will be put in place between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit, cannot be removed from the deal.

The EU's insistence is due in part to their commitment to defending Ireland's interests, with Varadkar insisting that any deal with the EU must include the backstop, in order to preserve the status quo on the island of Ireland.

A spokesperson for Johnson was contacted for comment.

Pre-emptive Brexit defeat

Johnson suffered a significant defeat on Thursday for his plans to take the UK out of the EU on October 31.

17 Conservative MPs voted against the government, with 30 more abstaining, on a vote which was designed to prevent Johnson from suspending parliament in the run-up to the UK's scheduled exit date in order to force through no-deal.

Leave vs Remain: Images of divided Brexit Britain [Photos]

One government minister, Margot James, resigned with several more, including the Chancellor Philip Hammond abstaining on the vote.

The ministers avoided the sack, due to May's government only having days left to run.

In a statement, May's spokesman said that "The Prime Minister is obviously disappointed that a number of Ministers failed to vote in this afternoon's division.

They added: "No doubt her successor will take this into account when forming their government."

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