UK PM criticised for comparing Ukraine conflict to Brexit

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has garnered widespread criticism after her compared the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine to Brexit, a media report said on Sunday.

While addressing a Conservative Party spring conference in Blackpool on Saturday, Johnson said: “I know that it’s the instinct of the people of this country, like the people of Ukraine, to choose freedom, every time. I can give you a couple of famous recent examples.

“When the British people voted for Brexit in such large, large numbers, I don’t believe it was because they were remotely hostile to foreigners.

“It’s because they wanted to be free to do things differently and for this country to be able to run itself.”

But his remarks did not go down well among political figures in the UK and Europe, said the BBC report.

Gavin Barwell, who served as former Prime Minister Theresa May’s chief of staff in No 10, said: “Apart from the bit where voting in a free and fair referendum isn’t in any way comparable with risking your life to defend your country against invasion, and the awkward fact the Ukrainians are fighting for the freedom to join the EU, this comparison is bang on.”

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, chair of the defence select committee, said that “comparing the Ukrainian people’s fight against Putin’s tyranny to the British people voting for Brexit damages the standard of statecraft we were beginning to exhibit”.

Calling Johnson a “national embarrassment”, Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said: “To compare a referendum to women and children fleeing Putin’s bombs is an insult to every Ukrainian. He is no Churchill: he is Basil Fawlty.”

Meanwhile in Europe, Donald Tusk, former president of the European Council, tweeted: “Boris, your words offend Ukrainians, the British and common sense.”

Guy Verhofstadt, the former Prime Minister of Belgium who was the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, said the comparison was “insane”.

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