War in Ukraine: Chancellor Rishi Sunak defends Johnson by comparing Ukraine invasion to Brexit vote | Political news

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Rishi Sunak defended Boris Johnson by comparing Ukrainians defending their country against Russia with the Brexit vote.

The Prime Minister received widespread criticism for his remarks, but the Chancellor denied Sky News’ Sophy Ridge broadcast on Sunday. Mr Johnson said the two events were comparable.

Speaking at the Conservative Party’s Spring Conference on Saturday, the prime minister said: “I know it’s the instinct of the people of this country, like the people of Ukraine, to choose freedom, every time. I can give you some famous recent example words.

“When Brits voted in such large numbers for Brexit, I don’t think it was because they were unfriendly to foreigners.

“It’s because they wanted to be free to do things differently and for this country to be able to run itself.”

Latest Updates on Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

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UK’s ‘instinct’ to ‘choose freedom’

But Mr Sunak said “of course” the two situations “are not analogous” and he does not think the Prime Minister believes him either.

He added: “People will make up their own minds. But I certainly don’t think those two situations are directly analogous. I don’t think he either.”

Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves told the show that Mr Johnson should apologize to the people of Ukraine for his “deeply insulting” and “rude” remarks.

Main developments of the war in Ukraine:

• Ukrainian officials say thousands of residents of besieged Mariupol have been forcibly moved to Russian territory
• Russia claims to have hit Ukraine with cruise missiles from ships in the Black and Caspian Seas, and launched hypersonic missiles Crimean airspace
• Some 56 people were killed after Russian troops opened fire on a retirement home in the town of Kreminna, Ukraine says
• Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister told Sky News she believes genocide is being committed against the Ukrainian people
• Pope Francis has denounced Russia’s ‘repugnant war’ against Ukraine as ‘cruel and sacrilegious inhumanity’
• Ten million people have been internally displaced in Ukraine or fled abroad, UN says

The situation in Ukraine on Sunday
Picture:
The situation in Ukraine on Sunday

Russian sanctions “are not free”

Mr Sunak also said the scheme’s sanctions against Russia “are not free” for the British and that it cannot completely protect them “from the difficult times ahead”.

The Chancellor acknowledged that sanctions imposed on Russia for invading Ukraine will add to the cost of living crisis before energy bills spike on April 1.

Read more: How much is Russia exporting to the UK and why it will add to the cost of living crisis

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Day 24 of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

He told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge program on Sunday: “The actions and steps we are taking to sanction Russia are not free for us here at home.

“I can’t pretend it’s going to be easy, that the government can solve all the challenges or that I can completely protect people from some of the tough times ahead.”

Listen to Sophy Ridge on Sunday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Loud speaker

Last week, the United Kingdom placed itself sanctions against nearly 400 other Russian oligarchs and entities and also banned luxury goods exports to Russia while raise tariffs on key Russian imports like grains, metals and vodka.

Mr Sunak added that he wanted people to know that he will ‘stand with them the same way I have for the past two years to try and make a difference where I can’ .

Energy prices will rise in a fortnight

In just under a fortnight, on April 1, the energy price cap will rise by 54% as global gas prices have soared over the past six months.

To help with the increase, the government announced last month that households in AD council tax brackets in England will receive a £150 rebate from April and that all domestic electricity customers will benefit £200 in October on their energy billswhich will be reimbursed on private bills over five years from 2023.

Mr Sunak added: “Where we can make a difference, of course we will. But I understand it is difficult.”

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Families choosing between food and electricity

“Uncertain economy because of Ukraine”

He declined to speculate on whether the UK was at high risk of recession, but said people “should have confidence in the strength of our economy”, which he added was fastest growing in the G7 last year.

The Chancellor said the “fundamentals” of the UK economy are “really good” thanks to the government’s measures to recover from the pandemic.

However, he added: “The outlook is uncertain because of what is happening in Ukraine.”

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Why Russia did not advance on kyiv

Labor’s Ms Reeves told Sophy Ridge on Sunday that ‘we need more than warm words from the Chancellor’ as she urged her to ease pressure on the cost of living on Wednesday during her spring statement .

She called on the government to introduce a “windfall tax” on the profits of North Sea oil and gas companies, which have recorded massive profits as energy prices rise.

The Great Debate airs on Sky News at 9pm on Monday
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The Great Debate airs on Sky News at 9pm on Monday
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