st night on Channel 4’s The Last Leg the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Not even Hitler used chemical weapons, as far as I can remember,” before adding: “Not even Hitler used chemical weapons against allied troops.” After the host, Adam Hill, pointed out, “there is an argument to say that he did use chemicals at some point,” Johnson backtracked: “But in the theatre of war, as far as I can remember, and I stand to be corrected on this, I don’t believe that even the Nazis used chemical weapons”.
Boris Johnson’s comments are grossly offensive. The planned mass extermination of Jews, the Roma and the disabled did happen and it happened using gas. Hitler and the Nazis also gassed gay people and gassed captured Soviet Prisoners of War who were of Jewish decent. Boris seems to be suggesting the fact Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons against allied troops means that somehow he wasn’t completely morally reprehensible. He has diminished the Holocaust and the calculated murder of over 6 million people, and has relegated it to a historical footnote.
He also seems to have forgotten that Assad gassed a civilian suburb of his own capital city. The Syrian conflict deserves proper debate and discussion and not ill-informed and crass commentary from the Mayor. He has proven yet again that he doesn’t have the judgement, sensitivity or understanding to lead. He needs to issue a full apology immediately and reflect on what he has said.
In today’s Sun it is suggested that Boris Johnson may seek a third term at City Hall if the Conservatives win in 2015. He prides himself on his historical knowledge and his classical education, but with comments like this about Hitler and diminishing the Holocaust, he has yet again demonstrated he is not fit to run the country or our great city.
In the autumn the Mayor is due to visit Israel, no doubt he will be asked about his questionable contracts on the Cable Car that excluded Israelis and Israeli companies. Now he will face questions about these comments, he must apologise immediately.
Len Duvall AM is the London Assembly Labour GrouLeader.