Humiliation for Boris Johnson: Former Ukrainian president slams PM for comparing the war in his country to Brexit

“How many Britons died because of Brexit? Zero"

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson suffered yet more humiliation yesterday, showing once again why he’s unfit to be PM, after the former Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, asked the prime minister not to compare Ukraine’s fight against Russia to Brexit.

Johnson has been criticised since making the remarks to Tory spring conference, where he told the audience: “And 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, 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.”

In a video clip, Poroshenko asked: “How many Britons died because of Brexit?

“Zero.

“Only today we have 150 Ukrainian children who were killed by Russian soldiers and Russian artillery,” he said.

“Can I ask you how many houses were destroyed because of Brexit? We have whole cities that have been completely destroyed,” he said, adding: “With this situation, please, no comparison.”

It comes as senior Tories continued defending the prime minister’s comments, with the likes of Tory chair Oliver Dowden telling Andrew Marr on LBC that the ‘they are exercising a freedom and the British people were able to exercise a freedom.’ Chancellor Rishi Sunak also refused to condemn the prime minister’s remarks.

Donald Tusk, the former president of the European Council, also said that the comments were offensive while Conservative peer Lord Barwell said voting in a referendum was not “in any way comparable with risking your life” in a war.

Tusk tweeted: “Boris, your words offend Ukrainians, the British and common sense”, while Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian prime minister and the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, said the comparison was “insane”.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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