Boris Johnson compares Liz Truss’s mini-budget to the farcical Morecambe and Wise sketch

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The former prime minister also dismissed claims that Brexit had hurt the UK economy as “complete and utter nonsense” and “confirmation bias”.

And he said his biggest mistake was not listening to his MPs enough during the Covid pandemic, which he described as a “bummer”.

Asked about one thing he would have done differently as prime minister, Mr Johnson said: “Covid was a bummer. Covid was really very difficult. I think what I should have done more of is that I should have spent more time talking to my troops instead of just trying to move forward and manage the pandemic, and that’s an honest answer.

“It was very, very difficult trying to run the country while we were going through this thing and we had a large number of MPs who had never been elected before, who didn’t think they would be elected and who hardly knew me at all . And I have to put my hands up, I didn’t spend enough time with them. It was my fault.”

Meanwhile, Berlin described Johnson’s claim that Germany wanted Ukraine to “fold” quickly after Russia’s invasion as “complete nonsense”.

The former prime minister, who was in office when Vladimir Putin’s troops invaded in February, told CNN that Germany wanted Ukraine to lose quickly, rather than have a longer war, for “all sorts of sound economic reasons”.

‘The facts speak against his claims’

But spokesman for the German government, Steffen Hebestreit, sharply rejected his comment on Wednesday.

“We know that the highly entertaining former prime minister always has a unique relationship with the truth; this case is no exception,” he said.

Berlin decided to quickly send weapons to Ukraine after Moscow launched its invasion, said Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s spokesman, who said “the facts speak against his claims”.

Switching to English, Mr Hebestreit added: “This is complete nonsense.”

Johnson had told CNN: “The Germans, for all sorts of sound economic reasons, really didn’t want it… I’ll tell you a terrible thing – the German view at one time was that if that were to happen, which would be a disaster, then it would be better for it all to be over quickly and for Ukraine to fold.

“I couldn’t support it. I thought it was a disastrous way to look at it, but I could understand why they thought and felt the way they did.”

The former prime minister also said France was in denial “right up until the last moment” when Russian forces crossed the border.

“This thing was a huge shock. We could see the Russian battalion tactical groups coming together, but different countries had very different perspectives,” he said.

“Make no doubt that the French were in denial right up to the last moment.”

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