Farage: Boris is only PM because Britain voted Brexit
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Boris Johnson drew criticism in March by comparing Brexit to Ukraine’s resistance to the unprompted Russian invasion which began more than two months ago, The Prime Minister claimed Britons, like Ukrainians, had the “instinct” to “choose freedom”, referencing the 2016 vote to leave the EU as a “recent example”. Mr Johnson later rowed back on the comments, saying that his analogy had been “misconstrued”.
However, while it is unanimously agreed that the vote for Brexit and the plight of the Ukrainians are not comparable issues, there is mounting evidence that Brexit might be the key to Britain’s rapid response to the crisis.
The UK’s withdrawal from the 27-nation bloc in 2020 has given it the freedom to determine its own swift response to the crisis without being held back by Brussels, according to experts.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has praised Mr Johnson’s response to the crisis on several occasions.
He said the Prime Minister – who he met in Kyiv last month – “is a leader who is helping more” than some of his EU counterparts.
Mr Zelensky has also hit out at members of the bloc such as Germany for being too slow to wean themselves off Russian gas.
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Meanwhile, Brexit has allowed the UK to act more quickly on targeting Russian fossil fuels than EU nations, according to Bate Toms.
The chairman of the British-Ukrainian Chambers of Commerce claimed the UK has also been able to speedily cut tariffs and send weapons to Ukraine more easily.
He told Politico last month: “Britain is now again in its historic role protecting Europe from conquest, freed from having to get along within the EU.
“Historically, the Duke of Marlborough, the Duke of Wellington and Winston Churchill saved Europe from itself, and the UK has this role again.”
The UK’s International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who backed Brexit, also told the publication that leaving the EU had helped the country’s response to the crisis.
She claimed the Government had been able to slash tariffs quickly on Ukraine due to its free-trade agreement with the country.
The politician said it had been done “at pace”, which would not have been possible before the UK’s departure from the EU.
Even formerly stalwart Europhiles like Stanley Johnson have hailed Brexit’s liberating effect on the UK, helping it to defend Ukraine.
The Prime Minister’s father, who wanted the UK to remain part of the EU, changed tack last month as he criticised the bloc.
During an interview with LBC, he praised his son’s leadership and also hit out at EU nations for dragging their feet over Russian gas imports and sending arms to Ukraine.
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He said: “At this moment you have to say Europe needs to pull its socks up.
“I mean, Germany is saying they can’t cut back on its oil imports. Well, why isn’t the rest of Europe coming to help Germany?
“I say to myself, in this particular case, Brexit was probably a good idea, because Boris has been able to lead from the front here.”
It is not just experts and political figures who believe the UK’s withdrawal from the EU has helped it respond to Ukraine.
The British public is also more likely to think Brexit has strengthened Britain’s response to the crisis than weakened it, according to a new poll published today.
A survey of 1,500 adults was carried out by UK in a Changing Europe with Redfield and Wilton Strategies.
It found that 36 percent believe that being outside the EU has strengthened the UK’s response to the Ukraine crisis, versus 26 percent who think Brexit has weakened Britain’s response.
The research also found that the public has a far more favourable view of the UK and US’ responses than those of EU member states.
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