UK

Boris Johnson Fidgets His Way Through Bizarre David Letterman Interview About Islamic State

13/11/2014 14:41 GMT | Updated 13/11/2014 14:59 GMT

Boris Johnson appeared in a bizarre exchange with US presenter David Letterman Wednesday night, as the conversation awkwardly switched from the London Mayor trying to promote his new book, to the rather more serious conflict in Iraq and Syria.

Boris, in his trademark scruffy style, was left pawing at his head and wriggling in his seat after the iconic chat show presenter repeatedly asked him if he knew the identity of the Islamic State executioner known as "jihadi John."

Presumably, Letterman was asking the Mayor due to his position of influence, but it instead came across that due to the terrorist's British accent, anyone from England would know who he is.

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"Help me with this question," Letterman asked. "This is a sad situation - ISIS, a fellow in a mask who seems to have a British accent, seems to have an identity known in England. Do you know who this fellow is?"

"Do people know of him? You know what I'm talking about of course?"

Giving a response with an air of perhaps jet-lag-induced exhaustion, Boris stated he did not know the militant personally.

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"I think people looking at that guy will feel absolutely nothing but contempt for his values and what he stands for and it is deeply shocking that such hatred and self-destructiveness could emanate from our society," he said.

"Obviously, we are very clear that people who do go out to engage with ISIS… to that part of Syria and Iraq, when they come back they will be treated as people who have betrayed our country."

As the audience burst into applause, Letterman persistently interjected again about the executioner's identity.

"I bet people know who he is though?" He asked as Boris, with a hint of irritation, said: "I want to be clear just because I'm not… I believe the guy you're talking about has been identified by the security services," Boris said, stumbling over his words.

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Discussing Jihadi John's "comeuppance", Boris added: "Bring it on."

"If the chap wants to see 72 virgins, I think he should be able to meet them as soon as possible," the London Mayor concluded.

Boris previously called for the presumption of innocence to be reversed in cases where Britons travel to Islamic State occupied countries and said he wants Jihadi John to be killed in a bomb attack.

Writing in his Telegraph column in August, Boris said most Britons wanted “someone to come along with a bunker buster” and kill the man, “as fast as possible”.

Johnson said those who “continue to give allegiance to a terrorist state” should lose their British citizenship and called for a “swift and minor change” to the law so there was a “re-buttable presumption” that those visiting war areas without notifying the authorities had done so for a terrorist purpose.

“We need to make it crystal clear that you will be arrested if you go out to Syria or Iraq without a good reason,” he wrote.