Boris Johnson 'caught on camera quoting Kipling poem in Burmese temple'

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Foreign secretary Boris Johnson has reportedly been caught on camera part-reciting a colonial poem in a Burmese temple before being stopped by an ambassador.

Mr Johnson was said to have begun quoting the opening lines of Mandalay during a visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, the capital of Burma.

The poem by Rudyard Kipling is written through the eyes of a retired British serviceman in Burma, also known as Myanmar, which Britain colonised for more than a century.

The poem was written by Kipling. (PA)
The poem was written by Kipling. (PA)

The Guardian, reporting on the footage due to be broadcast by Channel 4, said the British ambassador Andrew Patrick stopped Mr Johnson mid-flow, and before he recited the line "Bloomin' idol made o' mud/ Wot they called the Great Gawd Budd" - a reference to Buddha.

Mr Patrick is reported to have told Mr Johnson: "You're on mic. Probably not a good idea", to which the Unxbridge MP said: "What, The Road to Mandalay?"

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The ambassador replies: "No. Not appropriate."

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office declined to comment.

:: Boris Johnson: Blond Ambition is on Channel 4 on Sunday at 10.05pm.