VOTE LEAVE: Boris Johnson thinks Britain should leave the EU and the 28-nation bloc
VOTE LEAVE: Boris Johnson thinks Britain should leave the EU and the 28-nation bloc

Boris Johnson wants to leave EU

The EU referendum debate has been transformed by Boris Johnson who announced ‘after a huge amount of heartache’ that he wants to take Britain out of the EU.

On Sunday, the London mayor said he will campaign for a leave vote after concluding that David Cameron’s deal will not deliver the reformed EU he promised.

Speaking outside his home in Islington, London, the colourful politician said his decision had been ‘agonisingly difficult’.

He added: “I would like to see a new relationship based more on trade, on cooperation […] so that is where I’m coming from and that is why I have decided, after a huge amount of heartache, because the last thing I wanted was to go against David Cameron or the government, I don’t think there is anything else I can do.

“I will be advocating Vote Leave – or whatever the team is called, I understand there are a lot of them – because I want a better deal for the people of this country, to save them money and to take control. That is really what this is all about.”

David Cameron said: “We are approaching one of the biggest decisions this country will face in our lifetimes. Whether to remain in a reformed European Union – or to leave.

“This choice goes to the heart of the kind of country we want to be. And the future that we want for our children.

“This is about how we trade with neighbouring countries to create jobs, prosperity and financial security for our families.

“And it is about how we co-operate to keep our people safe and our country strong. I know there will be many passionate arguments over the months ahead.

“My responsibility as Prime Minister is to speak plainly about what I believe is right for our country. I do not love Brussels. I love Britain.

“I am the first to say that there are still many ways in which Europe needs to improve – and that the task of reforming Europe does not end with yesterday’s agreement.

“And I will never say that our country couldn’t survive outside Europe.

“We are Great Britain – we can achieve great things.

“That is not the question in this referendum.

“The question is will we be safer, stronger and better off working together in a reformed Europe or out on our own. I believe we will be safer in a reformed Europe, because we can work with our European partners to fight cross border crime and terrorism.

“I believe Britain will be stronger in a reformed Europe because we can play a leading role in one of the world’s largest organisations from within, helping to make the big decisions on trade and security that determine our future.

“And I believe we will be better off in a reformed Europe because British businesses will have full access to the free trade single market, bringing jobs, investment and lower prices.

“Let me be clear. Leaving Europe would threaten our economic and our national security.

“Those who want to leave Europe cannot tell you if British businesses would be able to access Europe’s free trade single market or if working people’s jobs are safe or how much prices would rise.

“All they are offering is risk at a time of uncertainty – a leap in the dark.

“Our plan for Europe gives us the best of both worlds.”

The agreement will take effect immediately if the UK votes to remain in the EU. It will include changes to migrant welfare payments, safeguards for Britain’s financial services and making it easier to block unwanted EU regulations.

The Financial Times reports that bosses of about half of Britain’s 100 biggest companies are preparing to back Mr Cameron’s campaign to keep the country in the union.