05/01/2018 12:45 GMT | Updated 05/01/2018 15:14 GMT

Boris Johnson's 'Tank-Topped Bumboys' Comment Makes Him 'Unfit' To Be Foreign Secretary, Says Labour

Past writings highlighted after Boris defended Toby Young.

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Boris Johnson’s past comments about “tank-topped bumboys” make him “unfit” to be foreign secretary, a senior Labour MP has said.

Johnson’s comments about gay people and women made while working as a journalist were highlighted by Business Insider after he defended the appointment of Toby Young to the new universities regulator.

The government’s decision to hand Young the job was met with disbelief by opposition MPs who said his views about women, LGBT people and the disabled disqualified him.

Johnson, who used to edit The Spectator for which Young has been a regular contributor, condemned the “ridiculous outcry” over his former employee.

Writing in the Spectator in 2000, Johnson attacked “Labour’s appalling agenda, encouraging the teaching of homosexuality in schools, and all the rest of it”.

And in a 1998 Daily Telegraph column, he said the resignation of Peter Mandelson from the then Labour government would cause “tank-topped bumboys” to “blub”.

Dawn Butler, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, said Johnson should not keep his job in Cabinet.

“Boris Johnson’s track record and his defence of Toby Young, whose misogynistic and homophobic views he published as editor of the Spectator magazine, surely make him unfit to be the UK’s most senior diplomat,” she said.

Young, who has deleted thousands of tweets following the outcry over his own comments, appeared to question the origin of Johnson’s remark when discussing a piece by Times columnist Matthew Parris.


Among the tweets deleted by Young, include the suggestion there “should be an award for Best Baps” for women and that he had his “dick up her arse”.

In a 2013 Spectator article, Young wrote about the “rise of the puritan liberals”:

“What surprised me about the attitude of the trans activists - not to mention gays and lesbians, many of whom are equally censorious about ‘offensive’ articles - is that they don’t see a link between freedom of expression and sexual freedom. Apparently it’s perfectly acceptable to deviate from various sexual norms, however upsetting some people find their behaviour, but completely verboten to dissent from the majority view of the metropolitan elite.”

In 2012, he wrote for The Spectator about the “ghastly” need for schools to be inclusive by having things like wheelchair ramps.

In 2011, he wrote a blog for The Spectator, condemning a school in Stoke Newington for celebrating LGBT rights with a week of lessons focussed on the issue.

“The very idea that a group of 12-year-old schoolchildren would be dragooned into ‘creating banners and other materials’ to promote LGBT week is preposterous,” he said.

In a 2001 column for the Spectator, when Johnson was editor, Young mocked an actress for suggesting she had been raped. He wrote:

“The American feminist writer Andrea Dworkin has always maintained that women are literally harmed during the making of pornographic films. She’s fond of citing the case of Linda Marchiano, the adult-film actress who says that she was physically coerced into performing oral sex in the film Deep Throat . ‘Every time someone watches that film, they are watching me being raped, ’ Marchiano claims.

“As someone who’s seen Deep Throat several times, I can report that it certainly doesn’t seem as though Marchiano - or Linda Lovelace, to use her nom de porn - is doing anything against her will. Of course, it’s possible that she’s just pretending, but that raises the question: if she’s that good an ac-tress, why is she starring in an ‘adult’ film?”

In the same year Young wrote in a theatre review:

“This is clear from the moment the curtain goes up, revealing six pairs of naked breasts. They’re good breasts, too, belonging to women who don’t look a day over 18.”

In 2000, Young wrote for men’s magazine GQ about disguising himself as a lesbian, including by putting on a wig, and trying to infiltrate gay bars in New York to kiss other women, some of whom he referred to as “hard-core dykes”.

At the time of publication, 163,370 people had signed an online petition demanding Young be sacked from his new job.