Under-fire Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has lavished praise on Donald Trump during an interview with Fox News, lauding the US President for “penetrating corners of the global consciousness”.
Amid mounting calls for his sacking over comments that could see a British woman receive a longer jail sentence in Iran, the Foreign Secretary told the right-wing news channel the US President was “one of the huge great global brands”.
Asked about perceptions of the US President from outside the states, Mr Johnson said said his method of tweeting early in the morning “no matter how rambunctious” was an effective way of communicating.
He continued: “And yes a lot of people don’t like it and a lot of people relate to it. In an age when people have been turned off politics it’s more direct and it’s more communicative than a lot of previous presidents”
“I think you’ve got to realise the American President is just one of the huge great global brands – he is penetrating corners of the global consciousness that I think few other presidents have ever done.”
Ending the three-minute long interview the Fox News presenter praised the Foreign Secretary, adding: “Boris you were made for television – I like the way you turned in the middle, thought about things, you are just a great guest. Thanks so much for joining us.”
Mr Johnson’s comments come after Iranian state TV said the remarks about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe – detained in Iran for over a year – were an “unintended confession of a real plot”.
The Foreign Secretary had previously mistakenly said that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was “training journalists” in Iran, prompting fears her five-year prison sentence would be lengthened.
Iran’s state broadcaster said his remarks were “proof” of the accusations against the mother-of-one, who was detained by Iranian authorities on spying charges while on holiday 18 months ago.
A TV report, entitled ‘Confession’, said his remarks were seen as an “unintended confession of the UK government about the real plot” behind her trip to Iran and “proof” of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s accusations against her.
Mr Johnson has faced cross-party calls to resign for the blunder this week but he refused to apologise in the Commons, telling MPs that there was “no connection” between his comments and the fresh charges from the Iranian judiciary.
During a separate television interview on Sky News, the Foreign Secretary was asked about the case. “We have some difficult consular cases in Iran and we are working on all of them,” he replied.
He also said he would be “very happy” to meet the family of Ms Zaghari-Ratliffe, who was separated from her young daughter Gabriella when she was arrested as she tried to return to London in April 2016.
Three-year-old Gabriella remains in Iran with the woman’s parents while her father, Richard, is in London lobbying the British Government for his wife’s release from the high-security prison in Iran.