The fury that Boris Johnson aroused by comparing Brexit with the invasion of Ukraine

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been criticized for comparing the Ukrainians鈥 fight against Russia鈥檚 invasion to that of Britons who voted for Brexit.

In a speech on Saturday, Johnson said the British, like the Ukrainians, had an instinct to 鈥渃hoose freedom鈥 and cited the 2016 vote to leave the European Union as a 鈥渞ecent example鈥.

Johnson鈥檚 comments have caused anger among politicians, both in the UK and in Europe.

Pro-Brexit protesters.
The UK left the EU on January 31, 2020.

choose freedom

鈥淚 know that the instinct of the people of this country, like the people of Ukraine, is to choose freedom, always. I can give you a couple of famous recent examples,鈥 Johnson said in his speech at a Conservative Party conference in Blackpool.

鈥淲hen the British voted for Brexit in such large numbers I don鈥檛 think it was because they were remotely hostile to the foreigners鈥.

鈥淚t is because they wanted to be free to do things in a different way and that this country could function on its own.鈥

In June 2016, the British voted in a referendum which resulted in 52% in favor and 48% against leaving the European Union.

Protesters for and against Brexit.
Protesters for and against Brexit.

Johnson also cited as an example the British who choseieron get vaccinated against the coronavirus because 鈥渢hey wanted to get on with their lives鈥 and 鈥渢hey were fed up with people like me telling them what to do.鈥


But Johnson鈥檚 remarks, aimed at uniting conservative supporters, have attracted critics political figures in the UK and Europe.

Donald Tusk, former President of the European Council, tweeted: 鈥淏oris, your words offend to the Ukrainians, to the British and to common sense鈥.

Guy Verhofstadt, Belgium鈥檚 former prime minister and chief Brexit negotiator in the European Parliament, said the comparison was 鈥渃razy鈥.

Guy Verhofstadt
Guy Verhofstadt.

For his part, British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, consulted on the subject by the BBC this Sunday, said: 鈥淚 don鈥檛 think the prime minister was making a direct comparison between these two things, clearly They are not directly analogous.

鈥淚 was making some general observations about the desire for freedom of the people,鈥 he added.

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak.

Sunak said the prime minister had been galvanizing world opinion to send a strong message to Vladimir Putinand 鈥渢hat鈥檚 what we need to focus on.鈥

Rachel Reeves, an MP from the opposition Labor Party, called on the prime minister to withdraw her comments and apologize.

鈥淭he people of Ukraine are fighting for their lives, to draw a parallel to the vote to leave the European Union, in any way, is shameless,鈥 Reeves told the BBC.

Reeves noted that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wants to join the European Union and that he 鈥淵ou clearly don鈥檛 see that parallel.ism鈥.

Rachel Reeves
Rachel Reeves.

Ukraine requested the accelerated income to the European Union at the end of February, shortly after the Russian invasion.

Zelensky said on Friday that he had spoken with the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and that he hoped they would be made. progress in your application in the coming months.

The war has caused devastation in Ukraine.

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