Boris Johnson: What did the former prime minister say about Rishi Sunak, the Conservatives and Ukraine while visiting Canada?

The former Prime Minister made a series of statements during the Canada Strong and Free Networking Conference.

Boris Johnson has been speaking in Canada, where he made a series of comments about policy both in the UK and US.

Appearing at the Canada Strong and Free Networking Conference on Wednesday night, the former prime minister called for more funding for Ukraine, and criticised Rishi Sunak’s plans to raise the minimum age for tobacco.

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His comments come as another former prime minister, David Cameron, was trying to walk a political tightrope to encourage the Republican party to also back a deal providing more help to the country in its war with Russia.

Former prime minister Boris Johnson spoke on a range of subjects during a conference in Canada.Former prime minister Boris Johnson spoke on a range of subjects during a conference in Canada.
Former prime minister Boris Johnson spoke on a range of subjects during a conference in Canada.

Here’s what Mr Johnson had to say on a range of topics.


Mr Johnson took ire with Mr Sunak’s policy of increasing the minimum age for buying tobacco every year in an effort to phase out smoking.

He said: “We are, on the whole, in favour of freedom and it is that single Anglo-Saxon idea of freedom that I think unites Conservatives, or should unite Conservatives. And when I look at some of the things that we are doing now, or that are being done in the name of Conservatism, I think they are absolutely nuts.

“When the party of Winston Churchill wants to ban cigars, donnez-moi un break as they say in Quebec, it’s just mad.”


Urging the right to support Ukraine, Mr Johnson called for the country to be admitted to Nato, and said failing to do so would be a stain on the US Republican party of Ronald Reagan.

He said: “The resolution to this problem is the security and the stability that comes with certainty about where Ukraine is and what Ukraine is. Ukraine has chosen to be a free, independent European nation oriented towards the west, towards the EU, towards Nato. And Ukraine must join Nato. That is the only logical way through this.”

He said fears such a move would provoke Russian president Vladimir Putin could not prevent action.

“We tried that, and look where that left us, with the worst war in Europe for 80 years,” he said. “Nato is the body that gives certainty and stability and will bring peace. But in the meantime, give those Ukrainians what they need.

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“The Ukrainians will do the job if we give them the tools. Let’s give them the tools. They have shown they are a proud, independent nation and they are going to fight for freedom. What we need to do is keep supporting Ukraine, keep supporting freedom.

“If you are the party of Ronald Reagan, if you want to make America great again, then you don’t begin a new Republican presidency … by conceding victory to Vladimir Putin. It would be a disaster for the West and it would be a disaster for America.”

Defence spending

Calling for the UK government to spend more on defence, Mr Johnson said: “Now is the moment for an even more robust posture. We all need to recognise the world is more uncertain, more dangerous. We all need frankly to be spending more on defence – that goes for the UK as well as everybody else.”



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