Boris Johnson today urged G7 leaders to aim for a more ‘feminine’ and ‘gender neutral’ recovery from coronavirus in a bizarre opening speech.
Officially kicking off the summit in Carbis Bay, the PM appealed for them to ‘level up’ and not repeat the mistakes of the aftermath of the credit crunch when ‘inequality’ increased. But he sparked bewilderment as he expanded on his vision for the qualities the world should be encouraging following the havoc wreaked by the devastating disease.
As the leaders – including US president Joe Biden – sat around a table before the first session, Mr Johnson told them they need to ‘build back better’ and be ‘united in our vision for a cleaner, greener world’.
‘I think that is what the people of our countries now want us to focus on. They want us to be sure that we are beating the pandemic together and discussing how we will never have a repeat of what we have seen but also that we are building back better together,’ he said.
‘Building back greener and building back fairer and building back more equal and, how shall I, in a more gender neutral and, perhaps a more feminine way. ‘How about that, apart from anything else. So those are some of the objectives that we have before us at Carbis Bay.’ Asked what the premier meant by a ‘feminine’ recovery, his spokesman said he had been referring to a £430million pledge to support education for vulnerable young children and particularly girls.
The comments came after the PM finally came off the fence after days of dodging over whether the England football team should be ‘taking the knee’ – with No10 saying that he backs ‘peaceful protest’ and wants fans to get behind the team. It amounted to a slapdown for skills minister Gillian Keegan, who had slammed the gesture, linked to the BLM movement, for ‘creating new divisions’.