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Wed, 27 January 2021

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By Geoff Lyons
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PMQs: Keir Starmer urges Boris Johnson to confront Donald Trump over George Floyd death

PMQs: Keir Starmer urges Boris Johnson to confront Donald Trump over George Floyd death

Boris Johnson was urged to confront Donald Trump over George Floyd's death (PA)

2 min read

Sir Keir Starmer has called on Boris Johnson to directly raise the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests in America with Donald Trump.

The Labour leader said the Prime Minsiter should express “the UK’s abhorrence at his response to the events” when he speaks to the US President.

Expressing his own "shock and anger" at the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis after being restrained by police officers in Minneapolis, Sir Keir said the case had "shone a light on racism and hatred experienced by many in the US and beyond".

And he added: “I am surprised the Prime Minister hasn’t said anything about this yet. 

“But I do hope next time he speaks to President Trump he will convey to him the UK’s abhorrence at his response to the events.”

Mr Johnson replied: “Let me begin by associating myself absolutely with what the Right Honourable Gentleman had to say about the death of George Floyd.

"And I think what happened in the United States was appalling, it was inexcusable, we all saw it on our screens," he said.

“And I perfectly understand people’s right to protest what took place, although obviously I believe protests should take place in a lawful and reasonable way.”

The Prime Minister and President Trump last spoke by phone on Friday, four days after the death of Mr Floyd.

But the readout provided by Downing Street made no mention of the incident or the subsequent civil unrest.

The matter was brought up later in the Commons session by the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford, who accused Mr Johnson of “skirting over” it in his earlier answer.

He criticised the Government for not offering words of condolence in the week since Mr Floyd’s death, saying that it had “shuttered itself in the hope no one would notice”.

Mr Blackford asked what representations Mr Johnson had made to the US commander-in-chif, adding: “And at the very least say it now: black lives matter.”

The PM replied: “Of course black lives matter.

"And I totally understand the anger, the grief that is felt - not just in America but around the world and in our country too, and I understand and I get that."

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