Boris Johnson has come under fire from Welsh and Scottish politicians after claiming "too often" English was not being spoken as a first language.

The would-be prime minister's comments were aimed at immigrants, saying he wanted them to "feel British" and learn English.

But he was attacked by Welsh and Gaelic-speaking politicians for his remarks at a Tory hustings.

At the event in Darlington, he said: "I want everybody who comes here and makes their lives here to be and to feel British, that's the most important thing, and to learn English.

"And too often there are parts of our country, and parts of London still and other cities as well, where English is not spoken by some people as their first language, and that needs to be changed and people need to be allowed to take part in the economy and in society in the way that that shared experience would allow."

Jane Dodds, the Liberal Democrat candidate in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, said: "Here in Wales, we know that not speaking English as your first language is no barrier to having a thriving community."


SNP MP Angus MacNeil said on Twitter: "Boris is just moronic and clueless.

"Same arrogance of centuries past that did down native Celtic languages for the Germanic import.

"Multilingualism please Boris and drop the cultural imperialism."

There are four indigenous languages spoken in the UK, including Scottish Gaelic and Scots.

The UK Government has signed international conventions to protect its minority languages, namely Welsh, Gaelic, Scots, Irish and Cornish.