Boris Johnson criticised for whisky comments in Sikh temple

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British foreign secretary Boris Johnson propensity for political gaffes came to the fore again for talking about favourable alcohol trade deals in a Sikh temple on Wednesday.

Seemingly unaware that the drinking of alcohol is forbidden under many Sikh teachings, the Foreign Secretary told the 50-strong crowd that he was going to sign a free trade deal in order to boost the trade in whisky.

Not all Sikhs observe restrictions on alcohol and many in the temple were discussing their choice of favourite whisky. As such, alcoholism is beginning to be seen as a negative vice amongst Sikhs more and more, as recognition of the damages of alcoholism continue to rise. "I'm a practising Sikh and to me that is completely outrageous", she said, adding: "It's causing a lot of problems at the moment". He spoke of the potential for a free trade agreement between India and the United Kingdom after Brexit, suggestion that the removal of a high duty would enable greater exports of whiskey between the two countries. "He said he was sorry hear of her personal story but that was all".

The foreign secretary has spoken of his hopes for increasing British whisky exports to India before.

Boris Johnson was reprimanded on a visit to a gurdwara in Bristol for talking about alcohol in the sacred building. So we have to bring it in duty free for our relatives.

Johnson responded by saying he understood the woman's family circumstances, prompting her to reply: "it's not my family circumstances, it's the whole of Sikhism".

Johnson, who was visiting the temple in St George as part of the 2017 General Election campaign, apologised to the worshippers for having caused offence.

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"I do think it is relevant to our considerations that whisky is a huge business in this country and a free trade deal with India would be of great value".

'But imagine what we could do if there was a free trade deal with India - which there will be'.

The Akal Takht Sandesh, a religious code of conduct, states that Sikhs "must not take hemp (cannabis), opium, liquor, tobacco, in short any intoxicant".

He further said that Johnson should know better, given that his wife, Marina Wheeler, is half Sikh.

A spokesman for Johnson denied it was a gaffe.

A Conservative spokesperson said: "One lady expressed her views based on a personal situation but the other 30 attendees warmly welcomed his remarks". "The temple regulars loved him being there". Party sources have denied that he has been sidelined.

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