'I'm told I’m not woke!' Boris Johnson hits back at woke accusations as he invokes Thatcher and Reagan in Ukraine plea

'I'm told I’m not woke!' Boris Johnson hits back at woke accusations as he invokes Thatcher and Reagan in Ukraine plea

Boris Johnson was asked by GB News correspondent Steven Edginton whether he is woke

Steven Edginton

By Steven Edginton

Published: 12/04/2024

- 11:19

Updated: 12/04/2024

- 11:30

Boris Johnson admitted some of his "best friends" are woke though he refused to reveal who they were out of fear from "embarrassment"

Boris Johnson has hit back at accusations he is woke, despite previously saying there is “nothing wrong” with the label.

Speaking in Washington DC, the former prime minister said: “I'm told that I'm not [woke].

He continued: “Some of my best friends are woke, probably. I wouldn’t want to identify [them] for fear of causing embarrassment.”

Johnson was in Washington to urge Republicans to release tens of billions of dollars in American taxpayer money to aid Ukraine’s war efforts.

Boris JohnsonBoris JohnsonGETTY

In 2021, when he was prime minister, Johnson said that “there's nothing wrong with being woke” when asked if President Biden should be described as such.

Responding to a question yesterday from GB News, Johnson said: “We shouldn't discriminate against the woke. If people want to be woke, that is up to them.”

Johnson told Republicans who argue funding destined for Ukraine should be used for American priorities, such as dealing with the border crisis, that they were not true conservatives.

He said: “The idea that somehow we can wave away the brutal invasion of another country, we can wave away the extinction of freedom in a sovereign European country and think that that is conservatism, think that that's anything to do with the party of Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher, that is absolutely insane.”

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson speaking at an event in Washington

GB News

The former prime minister also slapped down the suggestion that Vladimir Putin is celebrating western countries adopting “woke” policies, saying: “Putin is going to use all sorts of things, he's going to drag in all sorts of things to try to muddy the waters.”

“But I just remind you that in Ukraine, evangelical Christians, as it happens, are being persecuted by the Russians,” Johnson said.

He stressed that “if Putin had won in February 2022 it would have been a new dark ages [sic] for that country and the extinction of democracy [and] freedom of speech.”

Johnson said while “it is painful for America to be called upon to bear these burdens… there is no other global power that can do this” and claimed that “vast majority of Republicans that I talk to agree with that”.

The former prime minister’s intervention comes as Mike Johnson, the Republican speaker of Congress, has said he won’t consider giving more aid to Ukraine until Biden “finally address[es] the invasion at our southern border”.

Republicans are currently holding up further funding for Ukraine over concerns that the money should be spent on Americans.

In December last year, senior Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz tweeted: “America has sent enough money to Ukraine. We should tell Zelensky to seek peace.”

Lord Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, was also in Washington DC this week attempting to persuade Congressmen to pass the aid package.

However, Speaker Johnson reportedly pulled out of a meeting with the Foreign Secretary.

Lord Cameron also met with former President Trump on Monday in Florida, where the topic of Ukraine was discussed.

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