British Prime Minister David Cameron Wednesday attempted to reverse his “fantastically corrupt” remark about Nigeria and Afghanistan.
The BBC reports that while briefing Members of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons Wednesday, the British PM said Nigeria and Afghanistan had taken “remarkable steps forward” on corruption.
The PM said the countries’ leaders were “battling hard” to tackle the problem.
Cameron was asked about his comments on Nigeria and Afghanistan during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, where he jokingly checked if his microphone was working, refering to “tips on diplomacy” and said he had made “many unforced errors” in the past 24 hours.
Answering a question from Tory backbencher Philip Davies, who asked why UK aid was being given to countries that the PM sees as corrupt, in his reply, Cameron praised the action taken by Afghanistan and Nigeria and warned that cutting off aid could “come back to haunt us here”.
He also defended the action by his own government, including initiatives on overseas tax havens and measures to make sure “plundered money from African countries can’t be hidden in London”.
In the footage showing Cameron’s comments on Tuesday, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby intervened to say: “But this particular president is not corrupt… he’s trying very hard,” before Speaker John Bercow said: “They are coming at their own expense, one assumes?”
Earlier, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the PM had been “merely stating a fact” in his comments, and ex-London mayor Boris Johnson said people would “find it refreshing he was speaking his mind”.
Downing Street said the presidents of Nigeria and Afghanistan had “acknowledged the scale of the corruption challenge they face in their countries”.