The Prime Minister sparked fury when he spoke about the UK and Ukraine both being freedom-loving. He made the comparison while addressing the Tory faithful at the party’s spring conference in Blackpool on Saturday.
Amid the anger at the comments, Mr Johnson is thought to privately regret ever having made the statement.
“I know that it’s the instinct of the people of this country, like the people of Ukraine, to choose freedom, every time,” he told supporters.
“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.
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“It’s because they wanted to be free to do things differently and for this country to be able to run itself.”
Admitting he accepted it was a mistake, a close source to the Prime Minister told The Times last night: “It sounded better written down than it did when spoken.”
Politicans both in the UK and abroad were critical of the remarks.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak publicly distanced himself from the comments yesterday as he said the two events were “clearly not comparable”.
He added: “People will make up their own minds. But I can tell you categorically, the Prime Minister does not think that the situation in Ukraine and Brexit are directly comparable.
“Of course they’re not, no one would say that they are. He was making some general comments about freedom in different guises.”
More to follow…