Boris Johnson: People should not be 'bullied' into taking the knee for Black Lives Matter

Boris Johnson / taking the knee
Boris Johnson has indicated he would not take the knee. Credit: PA

Boris Johnson has indicated he would not 'take the knee' in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and said he does not believe people should be "bullied" into joining in.

The prime minister said "I don't believe in gestures" when asked whether he would take the knee in an interview with LBC.

He admitted he "can do more" to better represent minorities at the top of government but said he does not think people should be "bullied" into making gestures such as the one synonymous with the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I don’t believe in gestures, I believe in substance,” he told LBC's Nick Ferrari when asked "would you take the knee?".

He went on: “I don’t want people to be bullied into doing things they don’t necessarily want to do.

“If you think of what happened with those officers standing at the Cenotaph… They were being insulted in quite aggressive terms by members of the crowd and told to take the knee.

“Some of them did and it was very difficult for the others who didn’t. That’s my position.”

Following his comments, black Labour MP David Lammy questioned the prime minister's stance that he does not believe in gestures.

He wrote on Twitter: “Says the man who brandished a smoked kipper on stage in the Tory leadership hustings which led to him becoming Prime Minister.”

Mr Johnson's comments follow those of the foreign secretary, who recently said he would only take the knee "for two people: The Queen and the missus when I asked her to marry me".

Dominic Raab said he believed the stance originated in TV series Game of Thrones, adding: "It feels to me like a symbol of subjugation and subordination rather than one of liberation and emancipation."

While government ministers have distanced themselves from stance, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has done the opposite by posing for a photo while taking the knee.

He posted a photograph in early June of himself and deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner of them both taking the knee.

He wrote: "We kneel with all those opposing anti-Black racism."