The foreign secretary accidentally slammed Theresa May’s attack on “citizens of the world” at a select committee hearing today.
During the Foreign Affairs select committee, Boris Johnson asserted that everyone was a “citizen of the world”, unaware his comments came just one week after the prime minister denounced such people as “citizens of nowhere”.
Asked if he was “what the prime minister would refer to as a citizen of the world” Johnson replied: “Yes I am in that sense. I think we all are.”
“The human race probably emerged from Africa”.
But at the Torys’ party conference last week May used the phrase to blast “elites” who she said were out of touch with the concerns of most Britons.
“If you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what the very word ‘citizenship’ means”, she said.
Having been informed of this, Johnson seemed surprised. To smothered laughter in the audience, he said:
“I’m a citizen of the UK. And a proud citizen of the UK. And so are we all. And that’s our primary identity.... I also think we are all... part of the same great species.”
In a survey from GlobeScan and the BBC World Service published just over a month ago, 47 percent of Britons said they considered themselves global citizens rather than citizens of the UK.