Britain’s Jeremy Hunt, one of the primary opponents to pack leader Boris Johnson in the race to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has agreed with the sentiment, if not the form, of messages by U.S. President Trump about the state of London under Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Hunt’s comments came at a leadership hustings event Monday and followed a series of messages Tweeted by President Trump over the weekend as he lamented the surge of crime gripping London.
‘Khan Is a Disaster’: Trump Says London ‘Needs New Mayor ASAP’ After Three Killings in 24 Hours https://t.co/L35ZE2sCe2
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 15, 2019
Citing an earlier message by British columnist Katie Hopkins about a number of stabbings in the British capital — then three dead, a number which would later rise to four — the President said that London’s Mayor Khan is a “disaster” and that the city needed a new mayor as soon as possible.
Asked about Trump’s comments, which other Conservative leadership hopefuls condemned, Hunt said that while he wouldn’t have used the words the President did, he “150 per cent” agreed with the sentiment of needing to get rid of Mayor Khan.
Hunt said: “President Trump has his own style. I wouldn’t use those words myself, but the sentiment is enormous disappointment that we have a mayor of London who has completely failed to tackle knife crime, and spent more time on politics than the actual business of making London safer, and in that, I 150 per cent agree with the president.”
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Hunt Prompts Anger by Comparing European Union to USSR https://t.co/dmLWDz081S
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 1, 2018
The Guardian reports the response of the Muslim Council of Britain, which took exception to the content of the original message by Katie Hopkins, which described London under Sadiq Khan as “Londonistan”, which they say is a racist trope. The body said that “[…for Britain’s] foreign secretary and potentially future prime minister to agree with the ‘sentiment’ of this known Islamophobe, without condemning the clear bigoted intent behind it, is shocking. It is still further proof that Islamophobia is given a free pass at the highest echelons of the Conservative party.”
Breitbart London has reported at length in the spike in the most violent crimes in London which has coincided with Sadiq Khan’s Mayoralty — a relationship he denies and blames on the central government. A May city hall opposition report that coincided with the third anniversary of Khan’s leadership pointed to a 52 per cent rise in knife crime in the city, and a 59 per cent rise in robberies.
Other rises include a 30 per cent rise in gun crime, despite the United Kingdom already having some of the most restrictive gun laws in the world.
Happy Khaniversary! Significant Rise in Crime in 3 Years Under London Mayor: Report https://t.co/7jlscNEWmi
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 30, 2019
Hunt is generally perceived to be on the soft, centrist wing of the Conservative Party and continues a tradition of British politics that started with centre-left Prime Minister Tony Blair, was taken on by the Conservative’s David Cameron, and then his successor Theresa May. Positioning himself in opposition to his fellow candidates including Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab, and Michael Gove who all criticised the President’s Tweets, Hunt may be attempting to portray his potential leadership as both a friend to the United States and one that would be tough on crime.
Mr Hunt was the first politician to welcome President Trump to the United Kingdom during his state visit this month, meeting him on the tarmac at Stanstead Airport, and said in 2018 that it was important to not alienate the U.S. President as he is Britain’s best friend abroad.
It is not the first time Mr Hunt — one of the richest men in the British government — has made headlines by making statements that stand at odds with his otherwise Westminster-establishment views. Despite having campaigned for Britain to remain in the European Union during the Brexit referendum, Hunt framed himself as a Eurosceptic during the 2018 Conservative Party conference when he compared Brussels to the Soviet Union, criticising it for seeking to punish its own member states.
President Trump Roasts 'Dumb and Incompetent' London Mayor Khan https://t.co/VxEnsD7PhY
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 3, 2019