David Cameron has described Nigeria and Afghanistan as “fantastically corrupt” in a conversation with the Queen.
The PM was talking about this week’s anti-corruption summit in London.
“We’ve got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain… Nigeria and Afghanistan, possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world,” he was overheard saying.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, elected last year after vowing to fight corruption, said he was “shocked”.
And a senior Afghan official said the characterisation was “unfair”.
After Mr. Cameron’s comments, 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?”
The conversation took place at Buckingham Palace at an event to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday, attended by political leaders and other public figures.
At a garden party later on Tuesday, the Queen herself was caught on camera making unguarded comments about the Chinese government.
She told a senior police officer that she had heard the Chinese had been very rude to Britain’s ambassador to China during President Xi’s state visit last year. The Queen also agreed that the Chinese state visit had been a testing time for the police and told the officer it was “bad luck” that she had been in charge of security at the time.