Boris Johnson returns from Saudi Arabia empty handed after begging dictators for oil increase

Despite Johnson’s meeting with bin Salman for 1 hour and 45 minutes there was little sign of a breakthrough.

Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned from Saudi Arabia empty handed, after a trip aimed at getting the kingdom to boost oil production to help ease the cost of living crisis flopped.

Johnson met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, amid much criticism and being accused of going ‘cap in hand from dictator to dictator’ as he seeks to reduce Britain’s reliance on Russian oil and gas following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The prime minister had been accused of gross hypocrisy for the visit, given Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.  Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was personally responsible for ordering the murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The kingdom also carried out 81 executions over the weekend and is currently engaged in a brutal bombing campaign in Yemen, where alleged war crimes have taken place.

Despite Johnson’s meeting with bin Salman for 1 hour and 45 minutes there was little sign of a breakthrough.

Johnson was unable to announce a deal following Wednesday’s visit. Downing Street’s readout of the Johnson-MBS meeting could only say: “The Prime Minister and Crown Prince agreed to collaborate to maintain stability in the energy market and continue the transition to renewable and clean technology.”

Johnson also insisted that he challenged the crown prince on the country’s human rights record but refused to go into specifics.

The Telegraph calls it a “blow” as the PM “appeared to walk away empty handed.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer had accused the prime minister of ‘going cap in hand from dictator to dictator’ which ‘is not an energy strategy’.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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