PM’s brexit comparison causes controversy
Boris Johnson has been criticized for comparing the struggle of Ukrainians fighting Russia’s invasion to people in Britain voting for Brexit.
In a speech, he said Britons, like Ukrainians, had the instinct “to choose freedom”.
This was about the 2016 vote to leave the EU.
The comments have caused controversy.
Donald Tusk, the former president of the European Council, called the comments offensive.
Conservative peer Lord Barwell said voting in a referendum was not “in any way comparable with risking your life”
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said it was an “insult” to Ukrainians.
The reports come from Mr. Johnson giving an interview with The Sunday Times, urging China to condemn the Russian invasion.
He suggested Beijing was having “second thoughts” about its neutral stance.
Mr. Johnson made his comments in a speech to the Conservative Party’s spring conference in Blackpool on Saturday.
He 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 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.”
Mr. Johnson also cited as an example British people choosing to get vaccinated against coronavirus because they “wanted to get on with their lives” and “were fed up with being told what to do by people like me”.
But his remarks have attracted criticism from political figures in the UK and Europe.
Donald Tusk, the ex-president of the European Council, tweeted: “Boris, your words offend Ukrainians, the British, and common sense.”
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