The Prime Minister told Sky News that nobody knows the words to the rugby anthem. Mr Johnson added that people need to pay less attention to the symbols of discrimination and instead focus more on the substance of the issue.
Mr Johnson said: “Nobody as far as I understand it seems to know the words.
“Before we start complaining about ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ I’d like to know what the rest of the words are… ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, coming for to carry me home’ then it all dies out.
“How does it go on? I certainly don’t think there should be any sort of prohibition on singing that.”
He added: “What people need to do is focus less on the symbols of discrimination – all these issues that people are now raising to do with statues and songs and so on – I can see why they are very emotive.
Boris Johnson has been Prime Minister since 2019
The UK Government’s coronavirus alert system
“But what I want to focus on is the substance of the issue.
“Yes of course I see that Black Lives Matter. We are going to address all the issues that we can…
“We should be talking about success and the fact that young black kids are now doing far better in some of the toughest subjects in schools.”
During the same interview the Prime Minister dropped a hint that a major coronavirus lockdown change is on the way after the alert level was decreased from four to three.
Mr Johnson said: “I think that’s what the public also want to see.
“They want to see us working with the reality.
“We’re moving now from a world in which we have to impose a huge one size fits all national lockdown program to one in which we’re able to do more localised responses.
“The JBC announced the change in the alert level is working with our test and trace operation to do local whack a mole.”
The UK Government’s exit strategy conditions
It comes as Government guidance states that a reduction of the alert level three will mean the “gradual relaxing of restrictions and social distancing measures”.
Representatives from industries, such as the hospitality sector, may hope it could also pave the way for the two-metre rule to be relaxed which is key for many pubs, restaurants and cafes to reopen.
Prof Matt Keeling, of Warwick University, believes the downgrade is currently “justified” but cautions against the easing of social distancing.
He said: “The move to level three is not a time for complacency, there is still the prospect of a second wave if controls are relaxed too quickly and the reproductive number (R) rises above one.
“We are likely to be entering a new phase of this outbreak, where nationally and regionally cases will continue to decline, but locally there will be isolated clusters of cases that need to be contained.”