Although Theresa May used her Brexit speech on Tuesday to emphasise to European leaders that she hoped for a close and mutually beneficial relationship between the UK and the EU, not everyone appears to have got the memo. Today Boris Johnson found himself in hot water after he warned Francois Hollande against trying to ‘administer punishment beatings’ in the manner of some ‘world war two movie’.
While Downing Street insist that the Foreign Secretary wasn’t comparing the French President to a Nazi, several EU officials have since let their outrage over the WW2 jibe be known. While Labour’s Wes Streeting has accused the Foreign Secretary of being crass, Johnson is also facing criticism from his own party. Step forward Sajid Javid.
In a case of unfortunate timing, the Holocaust Educational Trust has today put out a press notice condemning people who make ‘glib comparisons’ with the Nazis. And who provides the key quote? Well, Javid — the communities secretary:
‘We have to call out bigotry and racism when we see it. We have to object when a line is crossed from legitimate debate to smears and abuse. We have to push back when people lazily reach for glib comparisons that belittle what happened … calling those we disagree with “Nazis” or claiming someone’s actions are “just like the Holocaust”.’
While the press release was prepared before Boris Johnson’s gaffe, Mr S suspects that the Foreign Secretary will be disappointed his comrade’s comments have been made public at such an awkward time.