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Johnson Sparks Fury over Joke about Thatcher Closing Coal Mines


Fri 06 Aug 2021 | 06:24 PM
Omnia Ahmed

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sparked outrage, on Thursday, over joke about Margaret Thatcher closing coal mines.

On a visit in Scotland, Johnson cracked a joke, stating that former PM Margaret Thatcher’s closure of coal mines had given Britain a head start on tackling climate change.

“Thanks to Margaret Thatcher, who closed so many coal mines across the country, we had a big early start and we’re now moving rapidly away from coal altogether,” Johnson said.

The Prime Minister then laughed and told reporters: “I thought that would get you going,” according to the BBC.

In response, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called the blunt statement “crass and deeply insensitive.”

“Lives and communities in Scotland were utterly devastated by Thatcher’s destruction of the coal industry (which had zero to do with any concern she had for the planet),” Sturgeon tweeted.

“To treat that as something to laugh about is crass and deeply insensitive to that reality.”

Moreover, Labour leader Keir Starmer took aim at the British Prime Minister's " shameful praising," asserting that it shows just "how out of touch he is with working people.”

Thatcher’s handling of the coal industry’s decline in the 1980s is still seen by the public as one of the biggest failures of her tenure.

Undoubtedly, this failure was particularly noticed in Scotland and the north of England, where communities were most affected by the closures.

Accordingly, millions of people protested against the shutdowns, with violent clashes often occurring between miners and police.