Sunday, 5 Feb 2023

Boris Johnson accused of ‘looking for publicity’ in a warzone

Boris Johnson asks for local police station to remain open

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Boris Johnson has been accused of “looking for publicity” in a warzone by senior military figures who have criticised the UK’s ex-PM. The comments came after it was revealed that Mr Johnson plans to visit Ukraine.

The former head of the army Lord Dannatt spoke to The Independent and warned that the ex-prime minister was a “loose cannon” whose plan could upstage Rishi Sunak.

According to the report, Mr Johnson intends to travel to Kyiv in the coming months to show his support for the war-torn country.

During his tenure as Britain’s PM, he developed a strong personal relationship with the country’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.

He urged the West to continue to support Ukraine against its Russian invaders.

Lord Dannatt continued: “Boris Johnson has been a loose cannon all his life, he remains a loose cannon.

“There’s no reason why on a personal basis he shouldn’t go … I don’t think he can do any harm, as long as he’s not trying to upstage Rishi Sunak.”

Sir William Patey, a prominent former diplomat who was ambassador to Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan, said if Boris Johnson does go to Ukraine it will “largely be for self-serving reasons rather than consolidating European unity in the war”.

He told the publication: “If it was another former prime minister going on such a trip it wouldn’t be such an issue but it is Boris Johnson and we know of his character, what he is like, and also of course his aspiration to return to No 10.

“So this is not very helpful for the government.”

Tobias Ellwood, the Tory MP who chairs the defence select committee, warned Mr Johnson should “not interfere” in the official relationship between the two countries.

Lord West, former First Sea Lord, said: “Generally, my position would be that ex-prime ministers shouldn’t be looking for publicity and kudos.

“They should be helping support the UK government and keeping in the background.”

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The development comes at the time amid rumours of Mr Johnson making a comeback.

The Independent reported that this week a grassroots group full of Mr Johnson supporters called for a rule change so that any Tory MP who gains the backing of 15 per cent of their colleagues should be able to run for leadership.

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