Boris Johnson was accused of “buffalo” behavior for slapping and pulling in the face, while Chancellor Rishi Sunak spoke in the Commons about the fearsome ordeal facing millions of Ukrainians.
As Sunak began his spring statement, Johnson seemed to be relaxing after just facing a half-hour prime minister’s question.
Sunak’s serious behavior when he paid tribute to people who fought or took refuge from the Russian military turned out to be contrary to Johnson’s. For almost 15 seconds, the prime minister chuckled at the opposition benches while his shoulder shook with laughter.
At one point, he appeared to be pulling a face while the interior minister, Priti Patel, glared at Labor MPs and apparently disapproved of the amount of noise in the hall.
“As I stand here, men, women and children are gathered in basements across Ukraine seeking protection,” Sunak read from his notes, as Johnson smiled at his side. “Both soldiers and civilians have taken up arms to defend their country and families.”
A clip of the moment was shared widely on social media and viewed nearly 1.5 million times.
Layla Moran, a Liberal Democrat MP, condemned the behavior. She said: “It’s all a joke for Boris Johnson. His hassle is a national embarrassment. He should apologize to the people of Ukraine. Their bravery stands in stark contrast to Johnson’s childish behavior.”
Johnson said later in the day that he had spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and praised the country’s “steadfast opposition”.
In a tweet, the Prime Minister added: “Britain stands with Ukraine – we will send further defensive aid and they have our full support in the negotiations.”