Boris Johnson has rejected criticism of past writing that attacked single mothers and women who work.
Challenged during an interview on ITV’s This Morning, the Prime Minister said: “I don't think this is the time to talk about articles that were written a very long time ago."
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However, he did repeat an apology for any offence caused by another article that compared veiled Muslim women to “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”.
In a 1995 piece for the Spectator magazine, Mr Johnson wrote that the children of single mothers were “ill-raised, ignorant, aggressive and illegitimate”.
And in another collection of writing from 2006 that emerged today, he said: “In families on lower incomes, the women have absolutely no choice but to work, often with adverse consequences for family life and society as a whole – in that unloved and undisciplined children are more likely to become hoodies, Neets [not in education, employment or training] and mug you on the street corner.”
The Prime Minister was challenged over the comments by presenter Holly Willoughby.
“This is alienating our viewers watching here today, this is alienating many people,” she said. “You must be able to understand how hurtful that is to someone's feelings.”
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Mr Johnson also said it was "complete nonsense" to suggest the NHS would be sold off under a future Tory government.
The Prime Minister gave a "rock solid guarantee" that no part would be sold off, adding: "Instead, what we are doing, as a One Nation Conservative government, we're investing massively in the NHS."