BORIS JOHNSON wants Britain to hand a give-us-what-we-want-or-we’re-out-of-here ultimatum to the rest of the EU.
The London Mayor delivered the threat in a speech this morning on Europe in which he argued that Britain should try to re-negotiate its relationship with the EU and that if those negotiations fail, “Britain should leave”.
“Boil [the EU] down to the single market,” Johnson said at a meeting organised by media group ThomsonReuters.
“Scrap the social chapter. Scrap the fisheries policy. We could construct a relationship with the EU that more closely resembled that of Norway or Switzerland – except that we would be inside the single market council, and able to shape legislation.”
BBC political journalist Nick Robinson was quick to spot a potential flaw in Johnson’s argument.
“Is Boris calling for UK to have freedom of countries outside EU with powers of those inside? If so, how many of other 26 likely to agree?” he asked.
Even if the rest of the EU rolled over and accepted the case made by Johnson, the Mayor believes there should be a referendum on staying in the EU on the terms of the new treaty versus getting out altogether.
Johnson’s increasingly anti-EU stance is based on his view that London’s economic future is dependent on selling its banking and finance services to the rest of the world and that being too close to the EU stymies that effort, especially with new EU banking rules in the offing.
“We have the language, and we are plugged in not just to Europe, but to what is likely to be the most powerful global economy for our lifetimes,” said Johnson.
“London is also the most agreeable, pleasant, all round nicest place to live [with] more green space than any other European city.”