Boris Johnson has warned that Britain must work closely with Europe post-Brexit to “sort out” the security threat posed by mass immigration from sub-Saharan Africa.
The favourite in the Conservative leadership race highlighted the issue as one of the key dangers to the UK’s future, alongside terrorism, Russian aggression and growing cyber threats.
Speaking to the Express & Star, Mr Johnson warned that there was “a very considerable threat” to Britain and Europe’s long term stability due to “difficulties caused by the population explosion in sub-Saharan Africa”.
Europe saw nearly one million asylum applicants from the region in the eight years to 2017, many of whom have fled war-torn countries such as Sudan, Somalia and DR Congo.
“That’s one of the ways in which we continue to be very good Europeans, because we are going to continue to work with our friends and partners to sort it out.”
Mr Johnson, who served two years as Foreign Secretary until quitting over Brexit in July 2018, said the ongoing threat posed by Vladimir Putin’s Russia was also of great concern.
He highlighted the nerve agent attack in Salisbury that led to the mass expulsion of Russian diplomats around the world as evidence, and suggested there would be no improvement in relations unless the Kremlin changed its behaviour.
“There are things that Russia does that we have to be very vigilant about,” he said.
“We saw what happened in Salisbury and there is evidence of Russian activity on the internet and we have to be very vigilant about that.
“[As Foreign Secretary] I was very pleased that we were able to orchestrate a very big expulsion of Russian spies around the world and that was a lot to ask other countries and they came through and did it.
“One of the most disappointing things about working as Foreign Secretary is that when I began, I thought to myself, why are we not more friendly with Russia?
“It’s a great country that we fought side by side with in the Second World War, the Russian people are a great people… why can’t we do this? And yet I’m afraid the Kremlin just continues to behave in such an irrational and self-destructive way.”
Mr Johnson said an “arc of instability” in the Middle East and South Asia meant that terrorism remained a major threat for the UK.
“There are people being recruited to terror and the blowback of that can come into our country,” he said.