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Owen Jones Calls Michael Fallon Interview Condemning Boris Johnson Statements A 'Work Of Art'

'Well, I’d have to see the words that you’re trying to quote to me.'

27/05/2017 13:38 | Updated 31 May 2017

Michael Fallon was left squirming after condemning statements made by Boris Johnson, after mistakenly assuming they had been made by Jeremy Corbyn in an interview Owen Jones dubbed a “work of art”.

The defence secretary was being interviewed by Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Channel 4 News on Friday about a speech the Labour leader made about how the “war on terror was not working”. 

Fallon explained in the 11-minute exchange that he took issue with Corbyn’s speech, particularly, “the idea that the attack in Manchester could be traced back to British foreign policy, that some how it is somebody else’s fault, it is the fault of the British government or somebody else”.

Channel 4 News
Michael Fallon criticised statements made by Boris Johnson on Channel 4 News

Guru-Murthy said he did not know what draft of the speech Fallon had read, saying his understanding of the speech was that, “the blame is with the terrorist, but if we are to protect our people we must be honest about what threatens our security, we must be brave enough to admit the war on terror is simply not working”.

The presenter then asked the Conservative minister to respond to this 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?”

Fallon condemned the comment, thinking it had been made by Corbyn, replying with: “Well, I think you shouldn’t allow pretext for people who blow up innocent children.”

Guru-Murthy then revealed that the foreign secretary had said the words in response to the 7/7 London bombings in 2005 that killed 52 people, but Fallon didn’t appear to comprehend that, uttering a similar response to the one he had just made.

He said: “They’re not entitled to excuses, this is an act of murderous... a callous murder that has taken the lives of innocent civilians.”

Guru-Murthy then reminded him of more comments of a similar ilk that were made by Johnson when he was mayor of London.

“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. It is difficult to deny that they have a point, the ‘told-you-so’ brigade.”

Then added that the sentiment expressed is “exactly what Jeremy Corbyn is saying now”.

Fallon disagreed, and was then asked by Guru-Murthy: “So, Boris Johnson is wrong?”

“Well I’d have to see the words that you’re trying to quote to me. I don’t have them in front of me,” he said.

Guru-Murthy: “I just told you them.”

Fallon: “I’d have to look at them.”

The interview was called a “work of art” by the Guardian’s Owen Jones. A fellow contributor to the newspaper, Hicham Yezza, said Fallon had been “flattened” by Guru-Murthy. 

Watch a full video of the interview below

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