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Coffee House

Boris Johnson: I will be advocating Vote Leave… or whatever the team is called

21 February 2016

5:09 PM

21 February 2016

5:09 PM

This is not about whether you love Europe or not. Actually, I love Brussels, I used to live in Brussels – fantastic city, wonderful place – and I love European culture and civilisation.

I consider it to be the greatest civilisation this planet has ever produced, and we are all products or most of us here are products of that civilisation and it is a fantastic thing but there should be no confusion between the wonders of Europe and holidays in Europe and fantastic food and friendships and whatever else you get from Europe – with a political project that has basically been going on now for decades which Britain has been a member of since 1975 and I now think is in real danger of getting out of proper democratic control. That is my view, and it’s a view I’ve held for a long time – I’ve written a huge number of articles about it.

And when people talk about sovereignty, this is not something that is possessed by politicians. Sovereignty is people’s ability, the ability of the public to control their lives, and to make sure that the people they elect are able to pass the laws that matter to them. And the trouble is, with Europe, that that is being very greatly eroded. You are seeing it more and more over employment, over border controls, over human rights, over all sorts of stuff. And you’ve got a supreme judicial body in the European court of justice that projects down on this entire 500 million-people territory, a single unified judicial order from which there is absolutely no recourse and no comebacks. In my view, that has been getting out of control. There’s too much judicial activism, too much legislation coming from the EU.

And so I look at what the Prime Minister achieved the other day, and I have to say I think given the time he had, he did fantastically well.  I think everybody should pay tribute to David Cameron for what he pulled off in a very short space of time, but I don’t think anybody could realistically claim that this is fundamental reform of the EU or of Britain’s relationships with the EU.

It’s my view that, after 30 years of writing about this, we have a chance actually to do something, I have a chance actually to do something and I would like to see a new relationship based more on trade, on co-operation but as I say with much less of this supra-national element, so that’s where I am coming from. That’s why I have decided, after a huge amount of heartache because I did not want to do anything, I wanted – 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, I will be advocating Vote Leave, or whatever the team is called – I understand there are many of them – I think that is basically, because I want a better deal for the people of this country, to save them money, and to take back control. That’s really I think what this is all about.

What I won’t do – I’ll just stress – what I won’t do is take part in loads of blooming TV debates against other members of my party. I heard, or I was told about what the Prime Minister had to say this morning about not sharing platforms with George Galloway and other individuals – I won’t do that either. If I’m asked my views – and you’ve been kind enough to come in considerable numbers to ask my views – I will give my views. Because that is what they are.

This is a transcript of his remarks to reporters gathered outside his house earlier this afternoon. His Daily Telegraph column tomorrow is expected to elaborate on this theme.

SPECTATOR EVENT: EU REFERENDUM – THE BATTLE AHEAD

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 01.33.23

Fraser Nelson, James Forsyth and Isabel Hardman will be discussing the EU Referendum campaign campaign with pollster Ben Page from Ipsos Mori on Monday 21 March. Tickets, for subscribers only, are on sale now. To subscribe from £1 a week, click here.


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