Boris was 'comparing the will to be free' with Brexit-Ukraine analogy, argues Ann Widdecombe

20 March 2022, 16:18

By Tim Dodd

Ex-MEP Ann Widdecombe has backed Boris Johnson's controversial comparison of Brexit and the Ukraine crisis, admitting she cited "various slave rebellions" in Brussels when advocating to leave the EU.

It comes as Boris Johnson has sparked outrage by comparing the struggle of Ukrainians fighting the Russian invasion to Brits voting for Brexit and resisting 'wokeness' in his keynote Tory conference speech.

The Prime Minister has faced criticism for his comments made during the spring conference in Blackpool, where he claimed it is the "instinct of the people of this country, like the people of Ukraine, to choose freedom".

Speaking in front of the Ukrainian ambassador, Mr Johnson referenced a couple of famous examples, including Brexit and Covid.

Andrew Castle asked Ms Widdecombe: "That was a bit of Boris to do that yesterday wasn't it?"

"The only thing that was silly is that it was perfectly predictable that the press would take that as a straight comparison," she replied.

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"When I think, what he was doing was not comparing the situations, but comparing the will to be free.

"I did something very similar when I was speaking in the European Parliament, and I drew examples from history. And one of the examples I chose was various slave rebellions at different times and everyone said 'ooh, you're comparing the EU to slavery'. No - what I was talking about was the will to be free, to determine one's destiny."

Andrew challenged Ms Widdecombe, asking "would you have done that at a time when people are buried alive in a theatre?", to which she replied "I think I might've stressed as I did it that I wasn't comparing the two situations... but I might still have made the point about the will for freedom because I think it's an important one".

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