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Coffee House

Boris Johnson’s European crusade to save the Tory party

3 August 2014

10:55 AM

3 August 2014

10:55 AM

The Sunday Telegraph has news that Boris Johnson will give a speech next week in which he will throw his weight behind a report, published by Volterra, calling for Britain to renegotiate its membership of the EU. The Telegraph reports:

The capital’s gross domestic product (GDP), currently £350 bn — or just over a fifth of the UK economy — would grow to £640 bn by 2034 if Britain stayed in a reformed EU and adopted policies encouraging more trade with the world’s fastest-growing markets, the report will say. 

But if the UK left the EU, while pursuing its own trade-friendly policies regardless, the London economy would still grow to £615 bn over the next 20 years. 

Staying in an unreformed EU would see London’s GDP expand to just £495 bn by 2034, Volterra estimates.

Boris Johnson’s economics advisor Gerard Lyons told the Telegraph: ‘Britain can only achieve meaningful EU reform if it’s serious about leaving.’ There are fears that Jean-Claude Juncker’s commission will seek financial reforms that are inimical to the City’s (and Europe’s) interests. Boris is expected to lay out where and how Britain should renegotiate, with the consequences of failure or half-measures made clear to Juncker et al.

This economic announcement is laced with political intent. The future of the Conservative Party, the most successful and resilient political movement in democratic history, is bound up in Britain’s membership of the European Union. Those familiar with Boris Johnson’s thinking on the matter say that Boris believes the party – in a broad sense of the term – is split on the issue, and that only a referendum on a renegotiated membership package can heal the fissure. As Mayor of London, and self-appointed guardian of the City’s nationally vital interests, Boris is well-placed to lead the renegotiation effort.

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