Foreign dictionary: Boris Johnson brands Corbyn a "mutton-headed old mugwump"

Helen Cahill
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Boris Johnson clinging onto his thesaurus (Source: Getty)

You know you're in trouble when Boris says you're not a serious politician.

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson has burst onto the campaign trail this morning, branding Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn a "mutton-headed old mugwump" who can't be trusted with weighty policy decisions.

Writing in the Sun, Johnson warned voters not to dismiss Corbyn as "harmless".

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"Do you have those feelings?" he wrote. "Have you ever thought the leader of the Opposition is an essentially benign Islingtonian herbivore? Have you felt a pang of sympathy for his plight? If so, fight it."

The foreign secretary, who owns an end-of terrace house in Islington, questioned whether Corbyn could handle the triple-threat posed by Russia, North Korea and the Islamic State, asking: "Where is Corbyn on any of these issues?"

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Johnson has so far stayed quiet this General Election, prompting many to ask whether the Conservatives planned to hide him away until the vote on 8 June.

And his attack on Corbyn has sparked at least as much debate about his obscure language as his stance on foreign policy. The Sun was forced to include a "Boris Johnson glossary" to help readers navigate his opinion piece.

The controversial politician, known for stealing the limelight, confused commentators with the term "mugwump", a word dating back to 1884 meaning someone who is aloof and independent of party politics.

In a comment read out on the BBC Today Programme, Labour MP John Healy said "it's typical Boris Johnson, a childish insult you'd expect from an old Etonian".

Johnson appeared on the radio show and apologised "to mugwumps everywhere" for using the term in reference to Corbyn.

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