The British Foreign Secretary has claimed that the Libyan city of Sirte could be the new Dubai.
But in a statement that has been described as “crass, callous and cruel“, Boris Johnson added, “… all they have to do is clear the dead bodies away.”
Various news agencies quote him as telling a Conservative Party conference fringe meeting:
“I look at Libya, it’s an incredible country … Bone-white sands, beautiful sea, Caesar’s Palace, obviously, you know, the real one.
“Incredible place. It’s got a real potential and brilliant young people who want to do all sorts of tech.
“There’s a group of UK business people, actually, some wonderful guys who want to invest in Sirte on the coast, near where Gaddafi was captured and executed as some of you may have seen.
“They have got a brilliant vision to turn Sirte into the next Dubai.
“The only thing they have got to do is clear the dead bodies away.“
Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, commented:
“For Boris Johnson to treat those deaths as a joke – a mere inconvenience before UK business people can turn the city into a beach resort – is unbelievably crass, callous and cruel.”
Conservative MP Heidi Allen said he should be sacked:
“Boris must be sacked for this. He does not represent my party.”
Mr Johnson visited Libya in August, where he announced that Britain would contribute £9 million to fighting terror and stabilising the country.
(Sources: BBC, The Independent, The Daily Mail)