Political cartoon depicts Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt as leprechauns in Northern Ireland
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Political cartoon depicts Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt as leprechauns in Northern Ireland

A CONTROVERSIAL political cartoon has sparked anger among the Irish for its depiction of Conservative Party leadership candidates Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt as leprechauns.

The work of political cartoonist Christian Adams, the cartoon features both men in full leprechaun garb doing an Irish jig alongside a pot of gold labelled “No Backstop”.

Published in the Evening Standard – which is edited by former Tory chancellor George Osborne – the cartoon appears to infer the pair are promising a seemingly impossible outcome from the ongoing Brexit talks.

It comes as both Hunt and Johnson visit Conservative Party members in Northern Ireland to lay out their solution to the current impasses involving the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Hunt has gone on record to state that the Northern Irish backstop "has to change or has to go" while Johnson says Irish backstop represents an incoherent negotiating strategy.

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However, many are unhappy at the apparent stereotypes at the heart of the Evening Standard’s cartoon which has been blasted as snide and a little too on-the-nose.

Osborne took to Twitter to share the cartoon with his followers online – but it didn’t go down too well.

“Bigotry towards Irish people alive and well,” one wrote.

“Is this supposed to be funny?” another asked.

“What an awful offensive image,” a third chimed in with.

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Meanwhile, someone else asked: “Beyond being gratuitously offensive, what is this even supposed to mean?”

“Really George, this is offensive,” another said, “You’ve left out our potatoes and Granny’s tin whistle!”

“Bit of casual racism,” someone else noted.

One Irish follower went a bit further than most.

“If you ever wonder why we hate you, it's for things like this.”

The most eloquent came elsewhere.

“George, There's a feeling that British attitudes to Ireland haven't grown up and nasty colonial stereotypes are still in place,” they said.

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“This is stupid, patronising and demeaning, and we are getting fed up with it in Ireland. Accept the WA or accept a broken, isolated, poor, jingoistic UK.”

Well said.

Despite the backlash, the cartoonist behind the piece has defended it as an attempt at satire.

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"Wow, satire going above many heads today! " Adams said. "It's a comment about Johnson and Hunt, not the Irish!"

"It's a satirical fantasy. Hopefully highlighting Johnson and Hunt's completely unrealistic promises."