[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 October, 2004, 13:55 GMT 14:55 UK
Boris sorry for Scouse stereotype
Boris Johnson
Mr Johnson is travelling to Liverpool
Boris Johnson has said sorry for perpetuating an "outdated stereotype" of Liverpool in an article on the death of British hostage Ken Bigley.

The Spectator editor, who is also Tory culture spokesman, is due to travel to the city to apologise in person.

An article in the magazine suggested grieving Liverpudlians were wallowing in their victim status.

It also attributed blame to drunken Liverpool football fans for the 1989 Hillsborough disaster in which 96 died.


Now - in a letter to the Liverpool Daily Post - Mr Johnson says: "I am sorry, too, for the hurt and dismay we have so evidently caused in our description of Liverpool.

"There may well be Liverpudlians who still answer to the characteristics in question, just as there are all over the country. We should not have generalised.

"And we should clearly not have blamed drunken fans at the back, when this cause was specifically ruled out by the inquiry report.

"Anyone, journalist or politician, should say sorry to the people of Liverpool - as I do - for misrepresenting what happened at Hillsborough."

"I repeat that the leader [Spectator leading article] made a serious point about risk and sentimentality, and the culture of blame, and I stick by it. In so far as it imposed an outdated stereotype on the whole of Liverpool, and thereby caused offence, I sincerely apologise."


Ahead of his visit betting chain William Hill said some punters were backing Mr Johnson to become prime minister, on or before 31 December 2014, at odds of 66/1.

The bookmaker is also quoting odds of 25/1 on him becoming the next Tory leader.

"We have been a little surprised to take several bets for Boris both to lead his Party and the country in recent days," said a spokesman.

Party leader Michael Howard told Mr Johnson to go to Liverpool saying his article was "nonsense from beginning to end."

Mr Bigley was beheaded by the Tawhid and Jihad group, led by Jordanian militant Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi earlier this month.

He had been kidnapped while working in Iraq.

How Boris' apology is likely to go down

'Sorry' Johnson sent to Liverpool
16 Oct 04  |  Politics
Howard slams MP's Bigley article
15 Oct 04  |  Merseyside
Bigley murderers' 'funds' frozen
14 Oct 04  |  Politics
Happy birthday, Boris Johnson
18 Jun 04  |  Magazine
Service marks Hillsborough deaths
15 Apr 04  |  Merseyside

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific