Pro-Remain article was ‘semi-parodic’, insists Boris Johnson

Foreign Secretary claims he only wrote the leaked, unpublished article backing Remain to test his commitment to Leave

Click to follow

Boris Johnson has insisted the pro-Remain article he wrote in February was “semi-parodic” and written solely “to see if I can make the alternative case to myself”.

The Foreign Secretary wrote the piece two days before he announced he would campaign for leave, but it was never published until it was leaked.

“It is perfectly true that back in February I was wrestling with it like a lot of people were in this country,” Mr Johnson told Sky News, outside his London home.

“I wrote a long piece which came out in favour of leaving. I then thought, ‘I better see if I can make the alternative case to myself,’ so I wrote a kind of semi-parodic article in the opposite sense, which has mysteriously made it into the paper this morning because I think I might have sent it to a friend.

“But I set them side by side and it was blindingly obvious what the right thing to do was. I think the people have made the right decision. They voted very substantially to leave the European Union, and that is what we’re going to do, and we’re going to make a great success of it.”

Mr Johnson has been a prominent Eurosceptic all of his adult life, including years as The Daily Telegraph’s Brussels Correspondent, but his decision to campaign for Britain to leave the European Union was anything but certain.

In February, after David Cameron announced the results of his lengthy negotiation with European leaders, Mr Johnson gave the then Prime Minister nine minutes notice that he would be joining the leave campaign. He told journalists he had been wrestling with the decision "for months".