'Don't rubbish me!' Vine panel erupts as Boris leadership challenged over Ukraine crisis

Tessa Dunlop clashed with broadcaster James Max as she called for a no-fly zone to be implemented across Ukraine and slammed Boris Johnson’s “posturing” over leading negotiations with Russia. Ms Dunlop said Mr Johnson believed he was “leading Europe” with Mr Max arguing it would be the worst time to oust him as the West needed to be united against Putin. However, the show became tense as the pair went back and forth exchanging insults as they disagreed over whether a no-fly zone would cause World War 3.

Boris Johnson announced a six-point plan to tackle the situation in Ukraine which include working with allies, helping Ukraine defend itself, increasing sanctions, refusing to normalise Russian aggression, ensuring diplomacy is an option, and strengthening European ties.

But Ms Dunlop was not convinced by the report and questioned whether Mr Johnson was the right man to lead the country through the crisis following accusations the Tory party has close Russian ties.

She told the show: “Boris Johnson posturing to the rest of the Western world, it’s too late.

“He tied his colours to the mast years ago when he failed to be honest and open about the Russian report, when he failed to allow us to have an investigation into what was really behind the Brexit vote.

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“Whether there were Russian cyberattacks, to what extent there was Russian money behind the Leave campaign… No, don’t rubbish me, James…”

Mr Max tried to intervene and remarked Ms Dunlop was “visceral” in her monologue but was spoken over.

Ms Dunlop said the UK had “great military heritage” but “squandered it” with the handling of Ukraine.

Mr Max added: “Look, all of the failures, and this is very difficult to argue so let’s see if I can get through a sentence without being interrupted.

“It is really difficult to argue when you have a Prime Minister who has made some terrible mistakes, terrible errors and has lied to the public about stupid small things and a lot of stuff which has been going on.

“I agree, ok, not a good report sheet, that having been said, we have an appalling president of the United States who has done nothing, said nothing, given all the wrong messages along all the way…

“Even Keir Starmer is saying don’t change the Prime Minister now.”

Mr Max said the report was “a start” and did not think a no-fly zone was a good idea as it would mean the UK would now enter into a war with Russia.

Ms Dunlop mocked Mr Max and called him an “armchair general” and said she had written about Romanian warfare in the past so was more qualified to speak on the matter.

She continued: “We need to establish a no-fly zone… can I explain how I would go about it, so Mauripol and cities like that under siege, people melting snow, not able to get food etc.


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“I would instigate on behalf of NATO, airdrops to those cities… you let the Russians know they’re going to airdrop humanitarian aid in their city.”

Mr Max said a no-fly zone would cause World War 3 and asked what would happen if Russia knocked out one of those planes.

Ms Dunlop bluntly said Western forces could then attack Russia.

Western forces are under pressure to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine to help the resistance fight against the superior Russian air power.

However, it would mean bodies like NATO would be forced to shoot down Russian planes to enforce the measure which would bring other nations into the conflict.

President Zelensky slammed NATO for not implementing the no-fly zone and said: “All the people who will die starting from this day will also die because of you. Because of your weakness, because of your disunity.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said a no-fly zone would cause a “full-fledged war in Europe involving many more countries and causing much more human suffering”.

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