Libyan military band butchers British national anthem in performance for Boris Johnson

A Libyan military band greeted Boris Johnson with a rendition of the British national anthem, but the Foreign Secretary might be forgiven if he failed to recognise it.

The brass band struggled through God Save the Queen as troops welcomed Mr Johnson to the troubled city of Benghazi.

Their faltering performance inadvertently provided a moment of levity ahead of talks between the Foreign Secretary and Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army.

Mr Johnson’s reaction to the rendition was not caught on camera, but the band was widely mocked after footage was posted on social media.

Historian Niall Ferguson joked the performance “wonderfully captures the spirit” of Mr Johnson, who has himself been accused of embarrassing Britain on the world stage.

The MP arrived in the Libyan city earlier this week, where he urged the country’s leaders to restore peace and stability.

He said a secure and stable Libya was “firmly in the UK interests” and would be better equipped to deal with the threat from terrorism and the challenge of migration.

The head of Libya’s unity government issued a warning this week that Europe faced a growing risk from terrorists unless it did more to help his country stem the massive tide of illegal migrants.

Boris Johnson’s reaction to the brass band was not documented, but may have been something like this (PA)

Earlier this week Mr Johnson announced more than £9 million of UK funding to help stabilise Libya and tackle the threat of terrorism and people-trafficking.

Libya has been riven by unrest and division since the 2011 ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.

This was the first visit to Benghazi by a government minister since 2011 and the first time that the Foreign Secretary had met Field Marshall Heftar.


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