Boris Johnson mistakenly praises Vladimir Putin for 'inspirational leadership'

Boris Johnson might not be leading the country anymore but he’s made an awkward gaffe in the Commons, and it just proves some things never change.

The MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip accidentally thanked Vladimir Putin for his “inspirational leadership” when he had intended to praise Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.

It was one of the first times Johnson was speaking as a backbench MP in a Commons debate since he left the post of Prime Minister.

He corrected himself before speaking about the importance of ‘doubling down in our defence of the Ukrainians’ if Putin doubles down on his “aggression”.

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“Thanks to the heroism of the Ukrainian armed forces, thanks in part to the weapons that we are proud to be offering, I congratulate my right honourable friend (James Heappey) on his description of the work of the UK armed forces, the weapons that we’re sending, the huge list…” he said.

Johnson's unfortunate slip-up came in Wednesday's session in the CommonsGetty Images

“Thanks also, of course, to the inspirational leadership of Vladimir Putin…”

He corrected himself by saying: “The inspirational leadership of Volodymyr Zelensky, forgive me, the Russian forces have, in recent days, been expelled from large parts of the north-east of the country around Kharkiv.

“And they are under increasing pressure in Kherson in the south, and I have no doubt whatever that the Ukrainians will win.”

His comments came during a debate on Ukraine in the Commons. Johnson went on to say: “If Putin is going to double down on his aggression, then we must double down in our defence of the Ukrainians, and we must be prepared to give more military assistance and more economic support, and I welcome warmly the announcements from this Government this week.”

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