Ambassador stops Boris Johnson 'reciting colonial poem' in Burmese temple

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been caught on camera appearing to part-recite a colonial poem in a Burmese temple before being stopped by an ambassador.

Mr Johnson seemingly began quoting the opening lines of Mandalay during a visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, the capital of Burma.

The poem by Rudyard Kipling is written through the eyes of a retired British serviceman in Burma, also known as Myanmar, which Britain colonised for more than a century.

The footage was captured by a Channel 4 film crew for a documentary.

In the clip, British ambassador Andrew Patrick stops Mr Johnson mid-flow, and before he recited the line "Bloomin' idol made o' mud/ Wot they called the Great Gawd Budd" - a reference to Buddha.

Mr Patrick is heard telling Mr Johnson: "You're on mic. Probably not a good idea."

The Unxbridge MP says: "What, The Road to Mandalay?" and the ambassador replies: "No. Not appropriate."

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office declined to comment.

  • Boris Johnson: Blond Ambition is on Channel 4 on Sunday at 10.05pm.