Brexit: Boris Johnson to campaign for Britain to leave EU
Johnson says deal secured by Cameron does not fundamentally reform European Union
London Mayor Boris Johnson arrives home in London on Sunday. He has announced that he would be campaigning for a British exit from the EU. Photograph: Getty
British prime minister David Cameron (right) speaking to Andrew Marr on the BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday. Photograph: PA
The London mayor put an end to months of speculation, saying that David Cameron’s renegotiation had failed to deliver fundamental change in Britain’s relationship with Brussels.
“I don’t think that anybody can claim that this is fundamental reform of the EU or of Britain’s relationship with the EU,” he said.
His announcement – made outside his London home – is a huge boost for the “out” campaign potentially giving them a popular figurehead able to connect with voters in a way few other Westminster politicians can.
At the same time, it comes as a bitter blow for David Cameron who had long believed that his old rival from their days at Eton and Oxford would ultimately fall in behind his EU renegotiation package.
Amid chaotic scenes, Mr Johnson insisted that he had agonised over the decision before finally declaring his hand.
Boris WILL campaign to leave the EU -Huge boost for Out, big blow for number ten altho expected - more soon— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) February 21, 2016
“The last thing I wanted was to go against David Cameron or the government but after a great deal of heartache I don’t think there is anything else I can do,” he said.
“I will be advocating vote leave . . . because I want a better deal for the people of this country to save them money and to take back control.”
Mr Johnson said he would not be debating against the prime minister or against ministers and would offer his views only when asked.
“I think the prospect of linking arms with Nigel Farage and George Galloway and taking a leap into the dark is the wrong step for our country,” he said.
“If Boris and if others really care about being able to get things done in our world, then the EU is one of the ways in which we get them done.”
One in three voters said Mr Johnson would be important in helping them decide which way to vote, the poll showed.