A joke from Boris Johnson that the UK could become " Saudi Arabia of criminal policy "under Priti Patel was condemned as" disgusting " and as a "new low" by opposition politicians.
The prime minister made the remarks, which can be viewed in video footage obtained and reported by Business Insider , during a closed-door speech at a Conservative Party fundraiser on September 10.
" In the immortal words of Priti Patel or Michael Howard or another Minister of IUncompromising interior, addressing inmates at one of our biggest prisons: it's fantastic to see so many of you here, ”Johnson told the 300 attendees at the luncheon, which was held at the InterContinental London Park Lane in Mayfair.
He then joked that the UK was becoming "the Saudi Arabia of criminal policy" under Patel in the framework of comments on the work on renewable energies. "I said last year that we were the Saudi Arabia windy. Probably the Saudi Arabia of criminal policy, under our wonderful Home Secretary, "Johnson said.
Saudi Arabia is the one of the most punitive regimes in the world. It is one of the few remaining countries to execute the death penalty bybeheading and has long been accused of serious human rights violations, including the torture of activists. It can impose the death penalty for homosexuality and many drug-related offenses.
Patel previously indicated his support for the death penalty as " deterrence "for serious crimes, although she has since denied this and suggested that she is not an "active supporter of politics.
The leader Labor deputy Angela Rayner called the PM's remarks "disgusting." She tweeted: "Saudi Arabia is beheading its own citizens, torturing activists exercising their democratic rights and killing gays. is disgusting. As always with Boris Johnson behind closed doors, the mask slips off and we see what he's really thinking. "
Alistair Carmichael, the pHome affairs spokesman Lib Dem said the comments marked a "new low" for the prime minister. He added: "Saudi Arabia's appalling human rights record is no joke. We have real and serious problems with crime and the rule of law in our country that deserve better than sloppy punchlines behind closed doors.
"Police officers Britons faced with the Prime Minister's pay cuts will certainly not be a laughing matter. Boris Johnson may admire his friends in the Saudi dictatorship, but he cannot escape the fact that his Conservative government is failing miserably to do what really works to prevent crime. "
In January, Politico reported that Johnson made a similar joke during a call towith 250 entrepreneurs. Downing Street denied making the comments and said it was " total bullshit ".
During his speech at the event, the The Conservative Party's first major fundraising event since the start of the pandemic, Johnson praised the role of the private sector in the pandemic.
"And who invented this vaccine, my friends? Was it produced in the laboratories of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs? Was it Public Health England? Was it the NHS? No ! No it wasn 't. No, it was the private sector, it was big pharma, it was the UK pharmaceutical industry "said the Prime Minister.
Johnson also boasted that he was " the only politician who stood up for [the bankers] in 2008 ". We are fond of it.fundamentally, fundamentally, the business and wealth creation party. And I salute the City of London, embodied here, and I still stand up for the wonderful bankers, ”he said, then referring to the role of capital in fulfilling its“ upgrade ”agenda.
Participants paid up to £ 500 for tickets for the three-course lunch, raising "a substantial sum of money " for the Conservative Association of cities of London and Westminster as well as for the headquarters of the Conservative campaign and other groups, according to the event brochure.
Downing Street has been contacted for comment.