OPINION - Paul Bristow MP: History will be kind to Boris Johnson

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson sacked Michael Gove as he tried to sling on to his job (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson sacked Michael Gove as he tried to sling on to his job (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

In 2019, Boris Johnson secured the biggest Tory majority since the Eighties, winning the hearts and minds of a nation with his positivity and “cheeky chap” charisma. When we look back years from now, history will be kind.

In two-and-a-half years, and during a pandemic, our Prime Minister was delivering what Great Britain wanted. Investment in our NHS; a tougher stance on law and order (with thousands more police officers); legislation to crackdown on illegal immigration; huge investment in housing, schools and infrastructure. And, perhaps most importantly, he ‘got Brexit done’, overcoming toxic political deadlock to ensure the UK would be what its citizens demanded — an independent, sovereign nation.

Yet he was also astute enough to understand that the independence and sovereignty of other nations were worth defending. With Johnson at the helm, the UK led the way in offering Ukraine its full support to oppose Vladimir Putin’s brutal, unprovoked invasion. Under his leadership, Ukraine has received game-changing military equipment, training, and humanitarian aid — significantly helping Ukrainian troops and civilians defend against the mad man of Moscow. Subsequently, Johnson has garnered respect and admiration across Ukraine, with Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday calling him a ‘true friend of Ukraine’ and expressing his ‘sadness’ over the Prime Minister’s resignation.

I share this sadness. We cannot underestimate the resignation’s potential implications, not only for the UK but for Ukraine. Johnson’s departure may send ripples throughout Europe at a time when unity and leadership is a necessity.

It is a shame that those who toiled so relentlessly in pursuit of his downfall have failed to acknowledge this. Many have struggled to reconcile themselves with Brexit — embarking on a calculated, often obsessive, campaign of revenge. Rather than focusing on the war and massacre of Ukrainians, they have displayed an alarming negligence in priorities. Cake over Kyiv. Beer over Bucha.

However, our eyes remain open to the horrors taking place in Ukraine and as the Prime Minister reiterated in his resignation speech yesterday, the Conservative Party, and the people of Great Britain, will “continue to back Ukraine’s fight for freedom for as long as it takes”.

Paul Bristow is the Conservative MP for Peterborough

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