LONDON — Boris Johnson has apologised for telling a Sikh temple in Bristol that Brexit will mean Britain will be able to export more alcohol to India.
In his latest gaffe, the Foreign Secretary upset a female worshipper when he said Britain will be able to strike a new free trade deal with India that will remove tariffs from whisky moved between Britain and India.
Johnson was forced to apologise after an unidentified woman exclaimed “how dare you talk about alcohol in a Sikh temple” and went on to discuss how alcoholism has negatively affected her family.
Watch Johnson’s latest slip-up:
“As you know, there is a duty of 150% in India — is that right? On imports of Scotch whisky. So we have to bring it in duty-free for our relatives,” Johnson told a group of Sikhs in Bristol on Wednesday afternoon.
“But imagine what we could do if there was a free trade deal with India, which there will be. Of course, they all drink it.”
“Of course, they all drink it.”
The consumption of alcohol is prohibited by Sikh philosophy.
“The core of our Sikhism is that alcohol is something that our people should not be having. It’s one of the few things we are against. Inheritance is not an issue — alcohol is,” the woman said, angrily.
“I’m sorry if am shouting but it’s something that is very important to me.”
Johnson responded by saying he understood the woman’s family circumstances, prompting her to reply: “it’s not my family circumstances, it’s the whole of Sikhism.”
A spokesman for Johnson said: “He was simply making the point that a free trade deal with, for example, India could be huge for both sides.
“He pointed out that in India billions of litres of whisky are consumed every year but there is a 120 per cent (customs duty) on imports of Scotch whisky and wouldn’t it be great if we could have free trade.”
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