Boris Johnson slams comparisons between Ukraine’s struggle for freedom and the Brexit vote

Boris Johnson has compared the Ukrainians’ fight against the Russian invasion to the British people voting for Brexit.

Speaking at the Tory Spring Conference in Blackpool, Mr Johnson said it was the “instinct of the people of this country, like the people of UkraineFreedom to choose”, with the Brexit vote being a “famous current example”.

The settlement was criticized by Tory peer Lord Barwell, who pointed out that Ukraine aspires to join the European Union.

In his speech, Mr Johnson 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 the British people voted for Brexit in such large, large numbers, I don’t think it was because they were remotely hostile to foreigners. It’s because it wanted the freedom to do things differently and for this country to be able to run for itself.”

The Prime Minister’s other example was the willingness of Britons to voluntarily get vaccinated against Covid-19 because they “wanted to get on with their lives” and “were fed up with being told what to do by people like me “.

Lord Barwell, who served as Theresa May’s chief of staff in Number 10, said voting in the 2016 referendum was “in no way comparable to risking your life in a war”.

He wrote on Twitter: “Apart from the fact that voting in a free and fair referendum is in no way comparable to risking one’s life to defend one’s country against invasion + the unpleasant fact that Ukrainians stand for freedom struggling to join the EU, this comparison is a blast.”

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said: “Boris Johnson is a national embarrassment. His buffoons contrast with President Zelensky’s bold leadership. Comparing a referendum to women and children fleeing Putin’s bombs is an insult to any Ukrainian. He’s not Churchill: he’s Basil Fawlty.”

A stream of senior Conservative politicians is also using the conference to grapple with so-called vigilance, with one calling for an end to “perpetual self-inquiry and introspection”.

The Foreign Secretary launched into the so-called culture wars by declaring it was “time to end the questioning of British history” and to end “ridiculous debates” about pronouns.

Liz Truss, who is also the UK Government’s Equality Secretary, said the “continuous self-inquiry and introspection” must stop.

In a speech, Ms Truss said the UK’s response to the crisis in Ukraine should mean a restoration of pride in British values.

In recent years there have been calls for the reputation of key British figures such as wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill to be scrutinized for views deemed inconsistent with the present day.

Street names and buildings were also renamed due to links to slave traders.

During the culture debate, the rights of trans people have come to the fore, with heated public arguments over people’s ability to self-identify as a different gender than they were born with and people using their preferred pronouns in written explain interactions.

The Foreign Minister told the conference: “Now is the time to end the culture of self-doubt, the constant self-questioning and introspection, the ridiculous debates about language, statues and pronouns.

“Our history, warts and all, is what makes us who we are today.

“We live in a great country, a great democracy and we should be proud of it.”

The Prime Minister also mentioned the value war in his speech at the end of the two-day conference.

Mr Johnson argued that the struggle for democracy in Eastern Europe highlighted the freedoms enjoyed by the people of Britain, adding: “We don’t need to be woken up, we just want to be free.”

The comments come after Brexit Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said during an appearance at the resort conference on Friday it was time “to move away from the wokery that has beset large sections of society”.

Mr Johnson, the Tory leader, also drew criticism for statements that appeared to compare the situation in Ukraine to Britain’s Brexit vote.

He told supporters he knew that the “instinct of the people of this country, like the people of Ukraine, is to choose freedom every time,” before citing the example of the 2016 referendum on the European Union led.

It’s not the first time the prime minister has meddled in the culture debate, with the Churchill biographer being a vocal defender of Sir Winston’s anti-Nazi reputation.

He said, around the time of the Black Lives Matters protests almost two years ago, that the decision to board up Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square to protect it from potential vandalism by protesters was “absurd and shameful”.

In a series of tweets at the time, Mr Johnson said: “Yes, he sometimes expressed opinions that were and are unacceptable to us today, but he was a hero and he fully deserves his memorial.”

On gender self-identification, following a consultation in 2020, the UK government announced that it does not support officially changing the gender of people without a medical diagnosis.

Instead, it announced plans to remove barriers to gender change, including making the procedure available online, reducing the certificate fee from £140 to £5 and opening three new gender clinics this year to reduce waiting lists. Boris Johnson slams comparisons between Ukraine’s struggle for freedom and the Brexit vote

Fry Electronics Team

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