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Boris Johnson refuses to condemn Donald Trump's claim of US election 'fraud'

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·3-min read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
Boris Johnson refused to comment on the ongoing US election controversy. (PA)

Boris Johnson has refused to be drawn into the ongoing controversy in the US presidential election.

With the election result still in the balance, President Trump prematurely - and without foundation - declared himself winner and insisted he wanted vote counting to stop, saying he would go to the Supreme Court about the “major fraud” that was trying to steal the election from him.

Speaking in front of MPs during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Labour leader Keir Starmer urged the prime minister to condemn the president’s comments.

“Will the Prime Minister join me in saying it’s not for a candidate to decide which votes do and don’t count or when to stop counting,” Starmer said. “The next president must be the free and fair of the American people.”

In response, Johnson declined to be critical, stating: “Of course we don’t comment as a UK Government on the democratic processes of our friends and allies. And I don’t think he’d expect otherwise.”

Trump made the comments as key states Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin were still counting - with many observers believing that mail-in ballots might swing them towards Joe Biden.

The president, who has previously stated he would be prepared to take the election to the Supreme Court, said in a speech at the White House that a “very sad group of people” were attempting to disenfranchise his supporters.

Watch: Trump claims victory despite counts still taking place

Trump said: “This is a fraud on the American public, this is an embarrassment to our country.

“We were getting ready to win this election – frankly we did win this election.

Read more: US election: Map shows live results as Trump-Biden race turns into a nail-biter

“So our goal now is to ensure the integrity for the good of this nation. This is a very big moment.

“We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So we will be going to the US Supreme Court, we want all voting to stop.”

Vice president Mike Pence appeared to dial down Trump’s remarks afterwards. "While the votes continue to be counted, we're going to remain vigilant,” he said.

“As the president said, the right to vote has been at the centre of our democracy since the founding of this nation and we’re going to protect the integrity of the vote.”

Speaking on Times Radio about Trump’s comments, foreign secretary Dominic Raab also refused to be drawn on the issue.

He said: “I think different countries have different ways that they approach the voting system.

“I know that there is obviously a heated debate about the balance and the propriety of posted votes versus votes cast in the ballot box in a polling station – I’m just not getting drawn into that.

“We are right in the heated aftermath where both candidates are making statements… if there are any contentious aspects around it, it is for the courts and the electoral college system to decide that.

 United States President Donald J. Trump makes a statement to the nation as his supporters look on in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Election Night, Wednesday, November 4, 2020. Credit: Chris Kleponis / Pool/Sipa USA
Trump has said he wants "all voting" to stop. (Chris Kleponis / Pool/Sipa USA)

“I’m not getting sucked in at all into that debate.”

Trump’s comments were followed by remarks from Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon, who said there are “crucial hours and days ahead for the integrity of US democracy” after he spoke.

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy called for every vote to be counted as she spoke to LBC.

“I think America is a very divided country, in some ways like Britain is a very divided country, and that there was always going to be divisions on display in this election.

“That’s why it is absolutely essential that every vote has to be counted.

“What matters most of all for the world is that America gets a definitive result in this election – it is in nobody’s interest to have civil unrest and months of ongoing instability in the middle of a global pandemic.”

Watch: Biden flips Arizona