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    Politics

    Boris Johnson told me he wanted to be black, journalist claims

    Afua Hirsch previously accused Boris Johnson of making “a litany of racist statements”;

    Boris Johnson's ex-wife said she had “blocked out” unpleasant memories of her ex-husband after a journalist told her he once said he “wished he was black”.

    Afua Hirsch, who is of British-Ghanaian descent, said in an article for British Vogue that the former prime minister made “problematic remarks” about her at a party in 2008 attended by Mr Johnson and Marina Wheeler, his then-wife.

    These statements were made by Ms. Hirsch in a recorded interview with Ms. Wheeler, who suggested that she may have “blocked” the comments from her memory.

    One of the main civil rights of Great Britain. Lawyers Wheeler, 59, married Johnson in 1993, the couple separated in 2018 and finalized their divorce in 2020.

    In her article for British Vogue, Ms. Hirsch said: “I have already met Wheeler once, in 2008, at a friend's party on the evening that Barack Obama was elected president of the United States. We both agree that this feeling happened a lifetime ago.”

    “She was still married to Johnson, who was there with her and who – predictably – made some problematic comments about my racial background. Demanding to know “where I’m from,” he commented that he “wished I was black.”

    “Marina says she remembers me, but not what her then-husband said, and moans when I tell her I'm telling a story. “It’s good that I blocked all this,” she says.

    Marina Wheeler with Boris Johnson in 2015 Photo: JUSTIN TULLIS/AFP/Getty Images

    Ms Hirsch, a best-selling author, was born in Norway to a British father and a Ghanaian mother and grew up in Wimbledon. She studied PPE at Oxford and qualified as a solicitor before turning to journalism, working for The Guardian and Sky News.

    She has previously accused Mr Johnson of making a “list of racist statements” and claimed his “stupid stupidity” was part of his “election brand”.

    Elsewhere in the interview, Ms. Wheeler, who has four children with Mr. Johnson, described the final years of her marriage as “impossible” and said she felt “free” after the divorce.

    “I guess I really feel like as you get older as a woman, and I think after divorce, to be honest, it frees you up,” she said.

    “You can look at the world again and do what – something that can change the situation.”

    Ms Wheeler said she never felt like a politician's wife during her marriage to Mr Johnson, but admitted: “I spent a lot of time trying to avoid people putting sockets on me… I wasn't always successful.” /p>< p>Since her ex-husband left the House of Commons, she has joined forces with the Labor Party as its “whistleblower czar”, helping the party fight sexual harassment at work.

    But she told Ms. Hirsch that she was “obviously not a partisan political person.”

    “I like the fact that I've been in a lot of different camps, but I've always been a little anthropological about it and just interested in observing how people function,” she said.

    She said she thought the unpaid volunteer role would be “limited,” but in fact she “has spent a lot more time on it than I have.” I think it was expected.”

    Referring to a possible future with the Labor Party, she said: “I'm so into it that I'll continue in some way even after I share my findings.”

    p>Mr Johnson declined to comment.

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