Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will not be “bullied” into taking the knee to show his support for Black Lives Matter, because he does not believe in “gestures”.

The prime minister said that he would rather focus on real action and things that changed policy rather than protests or symbols.

He said: “I don’t believe in gestures, I believe in substance.

“I believe in doing things that make a practical difference and if you look at what this government has done over the last few years, look at what I did when I was running this city (London) I massively increased, for instance, black representation, black and minority ethnic representation in the Metropolitan Police, we increased the proportion of recruits, we had an active program to accelerate promotion for black police officers and I want to see that happen across the country.”

The prime minister also said that he thought it was wrong for police officers who had taken the knee during Black Lives Matter protests to have done so, saying he felt they might have been pressured into it.

He said he didn’t want people to be “bullied into doing things they don’t necessarily want to do.”

It comes after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he would not take the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement because he thought it was a “symbol of subjugation and subordination rather than one of liberation and emancipation”.

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