Mayor of London Boris Johnson has said that Britain has a “great, great future” outside of the European Union — but still insisted he would rather see the UK remain in a reformed EU.
Talking to the BBC on Thursday, Johnson said he was waiting to see what happens with Prime Minister David Cameron’s renegotiation efforts before he commits to campaigning for either the remain or leave campaigns.
You can watch the video of the interview below, via the BBC’s Assistant Political Editor Norman Smith.
The most telling part of the interview is transcribed below.
BBC: When you get off the fence, you might find yourself campaigning against the Prime Minister.
Boris: Well, let’s see what happens.
The fact that Johnson refuses to rule out campaigning against his party’s leader in the referendum means that even if Cameron claims to have secured a renegotiation of Britain’s membership of the EU, Johnson could still say that he hadn’t done enough and campaign for the leave campaign.
Basically, Johnson, who has been tipped by UKIP leader Nigel Farage to lead the leave campaign, is keeping his options open. He knows that he will be a massive asset to which ever EU referendum campaign he chooses to back, but he also has political considerations to think about.
It is likely that he will be a candidate to be the next leader of the Conservative Party, whose membership is split over whether to leave the EU. By saying Britain would do great outside of Europe yet not committing to anything else, Jonhson is able to show off his Eurosceptic credentials without actually calling for a break from the EU.
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