Boris Johnson 'going from dictator to dictator' as he bids for energy deal with Saudi Arabia
The Prime Minister travelled to the United Arab Emirates overnight to begin talks on oil this morning
Boris Johnson has been accused of going “cap in hand from dictator to dictator” as he arrives in the United Arab Emirates this morning in a bid to strike energy deals with Middle Eastern countries.
Mr Johnson has been called on to use his personal relationship with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to persuade Saudi Arabia to increase its oil production.
Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer has criticised the PM's approach to diverging from Russian oil supplies, saying that forging closer ties with world leaders is not an “energy strategy”.
MPs have also raised concerns that Mr Johnson is overlooking Saudi Arabia’s human rights record in his bid for cheaper oil to soften the UK's fuel prices.
On Saturday, the Gulf country killed 81 people in one day, the largest mass execution in modern history. The convicted individuals, including seven Yemenis and one Syrian national, were accused of “terrorism-related” offences such as holding "deviant beliefs".
Mr Johnson has insisted forging closer ties with Saudi Arabia does not mean “we can’t stick to our principles”.
In a speech, he said: “It’s vital, if we are going to stand up to Putin’s bullying, if we are going to avoid being blackmailed by Putin in the way that so many western countries sadly have been, we have got to get ourselves off Russian hydrocarbons.”
Mr Johnson has also highlighted Saudi Arabia's announcement that they are investing £1billion in green aviation fuel in Teesside.
Speaking in the Emirates Palace hotel, he said: “That’s the kind of thing we want to encourage – doesn’t in any way mean we can’t stick to our principles and raise those issues that we all care about.”
He continued: “It’s not just a question of looking at the Opec countries and what they can do to increase supply, though that is important. There’s also the issue of Emirati investment in UK wind farms, already huge; what more can they do?
“When we look at the dependency the West in particular has built up on Putin’s hydrocarbons, on Putin’s oil and gas, we can see what a mistake that was because he’s been able to blackmail the West and hold western economies to ransom. We need independence.”