‘Spurious’ to say Johnson compared Brexit to Ukraine resistance says Javid

The health secretary has suggested it is “spurious” to claim the prime minister compared Brexit to Ukraine’s resistance to the Russian military.

Addressing the Conservative Spring conference in Blackpool on Saturday, Boris Johnson said the resistance of Ukrainian people to the Russian invasion forces was similar to the wish of Brexiteers “to be free to do things differently”.

Javid hit back at the claims in an interview with Sky News’ Breakfast show this morning, saying: “I heard his comments and I don’t think he was suggesting that at all. The PM’s voice was strong in expressing the desire for self-determination.

“I don’t think in any way he was connecting the situations in Ukraine and the UK and if we want to know what the PM thinks about Ukraine and responding we can see for ourselves the support he’s providing, rock solid support compared to any other world leader.


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“I don’t accept that he was comparing the UK to Ukraine. His point was about the importance of self determination and people whoever they are, wherever they are, they have this strong feeling of wanting to have freedom and determination.”

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Javid said it was “right” to suggest routes such as a Nuremberg-inspired international to place alleged Russian war criminals on trial.

“In terms of holding Russia accountable – and President Putin, he will absolutely be held accountable for this – there’s an International Criminal Court that will work on this and they’re already compiling evidence,” he explained.

A case must be referred the ICC upon approval by the UN Security Council. Russia and China both have the power to veto.

He described being “appalled” by the attacks on Ukraine, but did not signal agreement with Ukraine deputy prime minister Olha Stefanishyna’s claims that Russia is committing genocide.

Javid was also quizzed on whether the UK’s decision to lift all Covid restrictions was appropriate, telling Sky that the omicron variant was now “past the peak” despite a spike in infection over the past few weeks

“That was always going to be the case when we opened up,” he suggested. “So we have a sub-variant of the original omicron called BA.2 which we know is more infectious than the original omicron variant but thankfully the vaccines that we have are just as effective.

The government will now urge people over 75 and those with clinical vulnerability to get a fourth dose of Covid vaccine.