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Johnson arrives at Conservative party conference after Libya ‘bodies’ gaffe

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Published: 11:59 GMT, Oct 4, 2017 |
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Britain's Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson addresses the Conservative Party conference in Manchester

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appeared to evade journalist’s questions as he arrived at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on Wednesday (October 4), after he joked about “dead bodies” in Libya.

Johnson quipped to Conservative Party members on Tuesday (October 3) that the Libyan city of Sirte could be turned into the next Dubai by British investors if they could clear the dead bodies away.

It is the latest gaffe by Britain’s top diplomat, who has offended some allies with flippant remarks.

Britain and France took a leading role in the attacks that helped rebels overthrow Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The country has since descended into chaos, with thousands of casualties.

The Islamic State militant group took over Sirte in early 2015, turning it into their most important base outside the Middle East and attracting large numbers of foreign fighters into the city. It was later cleared of the militants.

In a series of late night posts on Twitter, Johnson said he was referring to the clearing of booby trapped bodies of Islamic State militant fighters.

The opposition Labour Party’s spokeswoman for foreign affairs, Emily Thornberry, said Johnson’s joke was shameful and questioned whether May would take any action to reprimand him.

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