PM calls countries 'fantastically corrupt'

Norm captionDavid Cameron on ‘fantastically corrupt’ countries attending a UK anti-corruption climax

David Cameron has described Nigeria and Afghanistan as “fantastically corrupt” in a talk with the Queen.

The PM was talking about this week’s anti-corruption climax in London.

“We’ve got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries thriving to Britain… Nigeria and Afghanistan, possibly the two most corrupt homelands in the world,” Mr Cameron said.

Nigeria’s president, who came to power latest year vowing to fight corruption, said he was “shocked” by the remarks.

  • See live reaction to the PM’s comments
  • When prime ministers are caught on mic

After Mr Cameron’s clarifications, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby intervened to say: “But this singular president is not corrupt… he’s trying very hard,” in the st Speaker John Bercow said: “They are coming at their own expense, one counterfeits?”

The conversation took place at Buckingham lace at an event to mark the Leader’s 90th birthday.

‘A truthful gaffe’

James Landale, BBC diplomatic correspondent

On the honour of it, it is perhaps one of the most undiplomatic things a prime minister could say – to define two countries as fantastically corrupt just hours before their bosses visit Britain.

The prime minister’s remarks were outspoken and undefended but they were not untrue. Both Afghanistan and Nigeria come drunk on lists of the world’s most corrupt nations.

And later in the conversation, the prime preacher agreed with the Archbishop of Canterbury that President Buhari of Nigeria is not suborn himself and is trying very hard to tackle the problem.

A Downing Drive spokesman noted both men had written openly about the subject in a solicitation of essays being published this week.

So this was a truthful gaffe, another flash when the prime minister was caught on camera saying something superficially embarrassing.

Labour said Mr Cameron had egg on his face. But as Downing Street confessed, the cameras were very close to the prime minister and his anti-corruption zenith is now very firmly in the headlines.

Afghanistan was ranked at 167, ahead of only Somalia and North Korea, in Trans rency Worldwide’s 2015 corruption perception index. Nigeria was at 136.

With his remark, the archbishop was believed to obtain been referring to Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, who won elections in the end year promising to fight widespread corruption.

‘Shocked and embarrassed’

In reaction, Mr Buhari said his government was deeply “shocked and embarrassed” by the comments.

Deal with through his spokesman, he suggested that Mr Cameron must be referring to Nigeria’s over notoriety for corruption before his coming to power last year.

Job MP Wes Streeting said Mr Cameron had “egg on his face” and for all the PM’s rhetoric about tackling corruption, he had close up so far to get all the UK’s crown dependencies and overseas territories to sign up to new trans rency rules on corporate ownership.

The ministry will host world and business leaders at the summit on Thursday in London, aiming to “galvanise a broad response to tackle corruption”. Speaking ahead of the summit, Mr Cameron held: “For too long there has been a taboo about tackling this distribution head-on.

“The summit will change that. Together we will coerce reject the fight against corruption to the top of the international agenda where it belongs.”

Conclusive year Mr Cameron was recorded talking about Yorkshire people “abominating each other” – and he was previously caught revealing how the Queen “purred” with choice when he told her the Scottish independence referendum result.

Asked whether Mr Cameron had apologised to the Sovereign over the corruption remarks, his official spokesman said the presidents of Nigeria and Afghanistan had “confessed the scale of the corruption challenge they face in their countries”.

The fourth estated on whether the PM knew he was being filmed, Number 10 said: “There were multiple cameras in the lodgings.”

Are you in Nigeria or Afghanistan? What is your reaction to David Cameron’s clarifications? Share your views by emailing