Boris Johnson, the outspoken mayor of London, said on his weekly radio show that every person living in the United Kingdom should speak English and city councils should not translate information from English for immigrants. It was “complete nonsense” to translate government documents to foreign languages, he said, according to the London Evening Standard.
“Everybody in London, everybody who comes to work in our economy, should be able to speak English,” Johnson said Tuesday. He added that it was a “great shame” that some Londoners did not speak the language and that it is a “huge wasted opportunity for them.”
English fluency is particularly important for employees of the National Health Service, including doctors and nurses from abroad, and for local council employees, Johnson said. He criticized what he called Britain’s past “multi-culti” practices of teaching children in their native languages, calling it a “disastrous approach.” He said adults with limited English-speaking skills should take courses to improve them.
Johnson made his comments in response to a caller who questioned his thoughts on UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage’s assertion on Sky News on Monday that non-English speakers in the NHS “shouldn’t be employed in the first place.” All NHS doctors have to take a language test to be employed there.
While Johnson agreed with Farage this time around, last month he lambasted those concerned with Britain’s growing immigrant population. Farage and UKIP have long advocated stricter immigration policies and the party’s supporters have expressed concern about a growing “foreign” population in the United Kingdom.
Johnson charged that such critics were prejudiced against non-Anglo Britons and jokingly asked if they wanted “forced sterilization or a one-baby policy,” according to the Telegraph. Johnson is known for his blunt, sometimes brutish, demeanor and disregard for political correctness.