Boris to defy Cameron and urge Bri­tain to quit the EU

Daily Express - - NEWS - By Macer Hall Po­lit­i­cal Editor

BORIS John­son is pre­par­ing to urge vot­ers to back a Bri­tish exit in the EU ref­er­en­dum, it emerged yesterday.

The Tory Lon­don mayor and MP has told friends he hoped sup­port­ing the “No” cam­paign to EU mem­ber­ship would force Brus­sels to make ma­jor treaty con­ces­sions to the UK.

But his stance threat­ens to put him at log­ger­heads with David Cameron and trig­ger a rift in the Con­ser­va­tive Party.

Mr John­son is count­ing on Bri­tain hav­ing a sec­ond EU ref­er­en­dum. He feels a vic­tory for the “No” cam­paign in 2017 would then force Brus­sels to make se­ri­ous re­forms to lure the UK back.

A bet­ter deal could then be put to the Bri­tish peo­ple in a sec­ond vote.

Mr John­son, who was elected Tory MP for Uxbridge and South Ruis­lip last month, be­lieves Bri­tain should re­ject any deal of­fered by the EU.

He is re­ported to have told friends: “We need to be bold. You have to show them that you are se­ri­ous.”

A friend said: “I don’t think, in his heart, Boris wants us to walk away. But he’s in­ter­ested in us say­ing No be­cause it won’t be what we want. That would mean a sec­ond vote.

“He thinks the only way to deal with these peo­ple is to play hard­ball.” Mr John­son’s re­marks will alarm Down­ing Street as the mayor was widely ex­pected to line up with Mr Cameron to keep Bri­tain in the EU.

The Prime Min­is­ter will give a Com­mons state­ment to­day about his EU ne­go­ti­a­tions. But Eu­roscep­tic Tories fear his de­mands for re­form in Brus­sels do not go far enough.

At a sum­mit in the Bel­gian cap­i­tal last week, Mr Cameron won ac­cep­tance from EU lead­ers for another six months of talks about his plans.

But many of the changes he wants are un­likely to be in force when the ref­er­en­dum takes place. For­mer Tory cab­i­net min­is­ter Owen Pater­son said: “The Prime Min­is­ter is ask­ing for very lit­tle of sub­stance to change. We’re hear­ing now that he did not even ask for it.

“He is not try­ing to re­gain the power for Bri­tain to make our own trade deals. He is not try­ing to end the supremacy of EU law. He is ask­ing other Euro­pean coun­tries what they will give him, which is no way to con­duct a ne­go­ti­a­tion.”

UK In­de­pen­dence Party leader Nigel Farage said: “Cameron’s dream of treaty change fell at the sum­mit in Brus­sels last week.”

Boris – vote ‘ No’ tac­tic

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