Boris Johnson's father branded 'insulting and offensive' after claiming 'if the Irish want to shoot each other, they will shoot each other' over Brexit
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Boris Johnson's father branded 'insulting and offensive' after claiming 'if the Irish want to shoot each other, they will shoot each other' over Brexit

BORIS Johnson's father Stanley has been urged to withdraw comments he made claiming Margaret Thatcher would have solved problems posed to the Irish border by Brexit by saying "if the Irish want to shoot each other, they will shoot each other".

Mr Johnson Sr, whose former foreign secretary son is no stranger to controversial remarks himself, made the contentious claim while speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain on Tuesday.

The 78-year-old told co-hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid that former Prime Minister Mrs Thatcher would have been fiercer in her treatment of the Irish border issue than current PM Theresa May.

He said: "She would have said it is quite intolerable that this whole question of a Northern Ireland border has come to dominate a decision about the future of our country.

"She would have said, 'Look, if the Irish want to shoot each other they will shoot each other whether there is a hard border or whether there is a soft border'. That is something the Irish will do if they want to do it.

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"So I think basically Mrs Thatcher would not have had any truck with this scheme by the EU to elevate the border question into a way of making sure we stay in the EU."

SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly has called on Mr Johnson Sr to revoke his comments, which she branded "insulting and offensive".

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Ms Kelly said: "Over 3,500 people lost their lives in the Troubles - a huge number for such a small area.

"[Stanley Johnson] should be a lot more respectful and aware of how the words he uses can cause offence. To be so flippant and say this in the context that he has is quite insulting and offensive.

"I would call for him to withdraw the remarks - they are offensive, hurtful and insulting."

DUP MP Sammy Wilson shared Ms Kelly's condemnation of Stanley Johnson's assertion, branding the writer a "loose canon" and "nonentity".

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Mr Wilson told the same paper: "Stanley Johnson's remarks could be considered quite hurtful for Troubles victims' families.

"I think it is a rather flippant way of describing what has been a very, very difficult situation in Northern Ireland, which has been subject to 30 years of terrorism.

"It's not Margaret Thatcher, it's Theresa May who is making these decisions and she has to make a decision in the context of needing our support.

"We will hold her to her promises."