Boris Johnson told world leaders he wants to build back from the Covid crisis in ‘a more gender-neutral and perhaps more feminine way’ in his opening speech at the G7 summit.
The prime minister said all countries must ‘learn lessons from the wretched pandemic’ as he sat flanked by US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron in Cornwall today.
It is ‘vital to not repeat the mistakes’ of the recovery from the 2008 economic recession which saw widespread inequality, he warned.
Addressing the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US, on Friday, Mr Johnson began by saying it was ‘wonderful to see everyone in person’.
He continued: ‘I can’t tell you what a difference it makes. We’ve all been going through the most wretched pandemic our countries have faced for our lifetimes, maybe longer, much longer.
‘I actually think this is a meeting that genuinely needs to happen because we need to make sure that we learn the lessons from the pandemic.
‘We need to make sure we don’t repeat some of the errors that we doubtless made in the course of the last 18 months or so.
‘And we need to make sure that we now allow our economies to recover.
‘I think they have the potential to bounce back very strongly, and there are all sorts of reasons for being optimistic.
‘But it is vital we don’t repeat the mistakes of the last great crisis, the last great economic recession of 2008 when recovery was not uniform across all parts of society.
‘I think what’s gone wrong with this pandemic, and what risks being a lasting scar, is that inequalities may be entrenched.
‘We need to make sure that, as we recover, we level up across our societies and we build back better.
‘I actually think we have a huge opportunity to do that because as G7 we are united in our vision for a cleaner, greener world, a solution to the problems of climate change, and in those ideas and technologies which we’re all addressing together, I think there is the potential to generate many millions of high-wage, high-skilled jobs.
‘I think that’s what people of our countries now want us to focus on. They want us to be sure we’re beating the pandemic together and discussing how we’ll never have a repeat of what we’ve seen, but also that we’re building back better together.
‘Building back greener, and building back fairer, and building back more equal and, how shall I… in a more gender-neutral and perhaps more feminine way. How about that? Apart from anything else.
‘So those are some of the objections we have before us.’
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