Speaking to Ukraine’s ambassador at the Tory spring conference, Boris Johnson said: ‘We don’t need to be woken up. We just want to be free, and that’s why talented people are openly fleeing Russia right now.”
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Boris Johnson, speaking to Tory party members in Blackpool, compared the Ukrainian people’s fight for freedom to voting for Brexit and opposing “vigilance”.
Speaking at the Blackpool Conservatives Spring Conference, the Prime Minister said: “I know that the instinct of the people of this country, like the people of Ukraine, is to choose freedom every time.
“I can give you a couple of famous recent examples. When Brits voted for Brexit in such large numbers, I don’t think they were remotely hostile to foreigners.
“That’s because they wanted the freedom to do things differently and that this country should be able to govern itself.”
He also cited the British people’s decision to campaign for Covid vaccinations as an example.
“It was because they wanted to get on with their lives. They were tired of being told what to do.”
He delivered the speech to the Ambassador of Ukraine to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, who received a standing ovation upon his arrival.
“It’s the invincible strength of this country,” said Mr Johnson, “that, by and large, and within the law, we believe people should be able to do whatever they want, provided they don’t harm anyone – and that is Freedom.”
He continued: “We don’t need to be woken up. We just want to be free, and that’s why talented people are openly fleeing Russia right now. That is why they are flocking to Britain.”
He added: “This is Putin’s tragedy. In a way, his disastrous blunder in Ukraine is itself an argument for democracy and freedom.
“Seriously, if Putin had a free press – if he had the BBC in his case – he would have known the truth. Or a version of it.”
He said President Putin knew the people of Ukraine would turn against him rather than find themselves in an “echo chamber of toadies.”
Earlier, Mr Johnson joked that President Putin’s writings on the origins of the Russian people, which he used to justify the invasion, were “semi-mystical baloney” and “Nostradamus meets Russian Wikipedia”.
He added: “I think he was afraid of Ukraine for a completely different reason.
“He was afraid of Ukraine because they have a free press in Ukraine and free elections in Ukraine.”
Earlier it emerged that Mr Johnson’s deputy chief of staff has warned advisers to prepare for an election next year.
According to remarks reported in the Timessaid top adviser David Canzini, “the clock is ticking” – and while May 2024 is still the most likely date for an election, it could come as early as next fall.
He is said to have made the comments during a No10 briefing last Friday.
Mr Canzini reportedly said the Prime Minister was “not at his wits’ end at Partygate – although Jacob Rees-Mogg yesterday called the scandal “fluff”.
Speaking at the Tory Spring Conference in Blackpool, Mr Rees-Mogg said the Ukraine crisis > The crisis in Ukraine has presented the Tories with an opportunity to “escape” Partygate.
He described the scandal as “fundamentally trivial” and “fluffy” – and said the “seriousness” of Vladimir Putin’s invasion made it look like “nonsense”.
The party’s spring conference – the first such event since the days of David Cameron – was viewed by Boris Johnson as an attempt to put his team into voting mode and cement his position as leader for the next election.
In his speech, party leader Oliver Dowden said the Tories would be preparing for a general election poll within two years from the May local elections, calling for candidates from “all walks of life”.
He told reporters later on Friday that there was “enough time” to make budget decisions before voters choose the next government.
The former culture secretary seemed to hint it was no coincidence that the party had returned to Blackpool for the first time since 2007 – previously a mainstay at the party conference – and said his outfit had to be the “party of the mill and mining towns” as well the Metropole”.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/boris-johnson-compares-ukraines-fight-26507434 Boris Johnson compares Ukraine's freedom struggle to Brexit and resistance to wakefulness