Boris Johnson faces backlash for comparing Ukraine war to Brexit
London, Mar 20 (EFE).- British prime minister Boris Johnson on Sunday was criticized for comparing the situation of Ukrainians fighting the Russian invasion to British people voting for Brexit.
Johnson’s remarks were made during a speech to a conference of his Conservative Party in the English city of Blackpool on Saturday, saying it is the “instinct of the people of this country, like the people of Ukraine, to choose freedom,” citing the Brexit vote as a “famous recent example.”
“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.”
The comparison was criticized by Conservative peer Lord Barwell, who reminded Johnson that Ukraine is seeking to join the European Union.
Barwell, who served as chief of staff to former prime minister Theresa May, wrote on Twitter that “voting in a free and fair referendum isn’t in any way comparable with risking your life to defend your country against invasion.”
Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey described Johnson as a “national embarrassment.”
“To compare a referendum to women and children fleeing (Russian president Vladimir) Putin’s bombs is an insult to every Ukrainian,” he added.
Ian Blackford, the leader of the Scottish National Party in Westminster, said that “Johnson’s comments comparing Ukraine’s life-threatening situation with Brexit was crass and distasteful, and shows just how dangerously obsessed the Tories are with Brexit.”
Meanwhile, Donald Tusk, who was the president of the EU during the process of Britain’s exit in 2016, said the British PM’s words “offend Ukrainians, the British and common sense.”
“I can still remember the enthusiasm of Putin and (former US president Donald) Trump after the referendum,” the former Polish prime minister said.
Ex-Belgian prime minister, Guy Verhofstadt, called the comparison “insane.”EFE