Sadiq Khan and Jeremy Corbyn call for Boris Johnson to resign over Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe "gaffe"

Lynsey Barber
Follow Lynsey
The foreign secretary Boris Johnson is under pressure over comments he made (Source: Getty)

Labour is piling pressure on the government on Sunday, with Labour's top two politicians calling for Boris Johnson to resign.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the foreign secretary should go in light of the latest "gaffe", echoing a similar call from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Johnson is under pressure over comments he made about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British Iranian woman being detained in an Iranian prison. He suggested that she was teaching journalism, something that is illegal in the country and risks doubling her existing five-year sentence.

Read more: Iranian TV claims Johnson unwittingly revealed Zaghari-Ratcliffe "plot"

"This is the latest in a long list of gaffes made by our foreign secretary," said Khan.

"I think he's got to go. He's our foreign secretary, whose job is diplomacy and representing the best interests of our country and if Theresa May was a strong Prime Minister she'd have sacked him a long time ago," he added, speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

Corbyn told the Observer late on Saturday night: “We’ve put up with Johnson embarrassing and undermining our country with his incompetence and colonial throwback views and putting our citizens at risk for long enough. It’s time for him to go.”

Meanwhile, environment secretary Michael Gove said he did not know why Zaghari-Ratcliffe was being held. Her employer, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, and family say she was detained in 2016 after taking her daughter on holiday to visit family.

Read more: DEBATE: Is Boris Johnson’s latest gaffe grounds for his removal?

When this was put to Gove, also appearing on the Andrew Marr Show, he said: "In that case I take exactly her husband's assurance in that regard. Her husband said she was there on holiday, and her husband is the person who should know."

Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband Richard is due to speak with Johnson today.

Gove said it was down to the Iranian authorities that she was in prison and that blame shouldn't be shifted to Johnson.

"But one of the things I just want to stress at the line of questioning which I know that you want to go down is that there is an effort somehow to shift attention and direction away from who is really at fault here, and it is the Iranian regime." said Gove.

"They’re the people who jailed Nazanin, they’re the people upon whom our focus should light. There is no reason, no excuse and no justification for her detention and she should be released," he said.

Johnson also found words of support coming from Brexit secretary David Davis who called him "a good foreign secretary".

Related articles