One of the organised campaigns to leave the European Union has accused Boris Johnson of not being fully committed to Brexit – and warned him against “betrayal”.
Leave.EU, one of the two main campaigns in favour of leaving the bloc, said it was concerned that Mr Johnson still quietly harboured pro-membership views.
The Mayor of London came out in favour of a “leave” vote on Sunday evening, but an ensuing newspaper column written by him was widely interpreted as pledging further renegotiation after such a vote.
The opinion piece led David Cameron to warn in Parliament on Monday that the referendum would be a “final decision” and that any further suggestion of renegotiation was “for the birds”.
The PM also appeared to subtly suggest that Mr Johnson had made the decision with his career in mind.
Leave.EU Co-founder Richard Tice warned Mr Johnson against a “betrayal” of the British people.
“Leave.EU is delighted to welcome Boris Johnson to the campaign for the UK to leave the European Union,” he said.
“Following, however, his latest Daily Telegraph column where he stated the EU ‘only really listen to a population when it says no’ we are concerned that he still harbours a belief that the EU can be reformed and that the best way to achieve this is to vote Leave and then open up fresh negotiations.
What has the EU ever done for us?
What has the EU ever done for us?
1/7 1. It gives you freedom to live, work and retire anywhere in Europe
As a member of the EU, UK citizens benefit from freedom of movement across the continent. Considered one of the so-called four pillars of the European Union, this freedom allows all EU citizens to live, work and travel in other member states.
2/7 2. It sustains millions of jobs
A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, released in October 2015, suggested 3.1 million British jobs were linked to the UK’s exports to the EU.
3/7 3. Your holiday is much easier - and safer
Freedom to travel is one of the most exercised benefits of EU membership, with Britons having made 31 million visits to the EU in 2014 alone. But a lot of the benefits of being an EU citizen are either taken for granted or go unnoticed.
4/7 4. It means you're less likely to get ripped off
Consumer protection is a key benefit of the EU’s single market, and ensures members of the British public receive equal consumer rights when shopping anywhere in Europe.
5/7 5. It offers greater protection from terrorists, paedophiles, people traffickers and cyber-crime
Another example of a lesser-known advantage of EU membership is the benefit of cross-country coordination and cooperation in the fight against crime.
6/7 6. Our businesses depend on it
According to 71% of all members of the Confederation of British Influence (CBI), and 67 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the EU has had an overall positive impact on their business.
7/7 7. We have greater influence
Robin Niblett, Director of think-tank Chatham House, stated in a report published last year: “For a mid-sized country like the UK, which will never again be economically dominant either globally or regionally, and whose diplomatic and military resources are declining in relative terms, being a major player in a strong regional institution can offer a critical lever for international influence.
“If there is anything the past six months of shuttle diplomacy and last week’s choreographed negotiations showed it is that the EU will not reform. Even the heavily diluted deal has been confirmed as worthless in the space of a few days.
“The referendum question is plain and simple, do we stay in or leave the EU. When the British people vote to leave there will then be negotiations on the terms of departure, not new terms to stay.
“Anything less will be a breach of faith between the public and the government. Voting to leave must mean leaving the EU, no ifs, no buts, no last minute vows – or the British people will rightly feel betrayed.”
Mr Johnson had written in his Daily Telegraph column that “there is only one way to get the change we need, and that is to vote to go, because all EU history shows that they only really listen to a population when it says No”.
This weekend Mr Cameron announced that Britain would hold its in-out referendum on membership of the European Union on 23 June of this year.
The vote follows a renegotiation of the terms of membership of the EU by the Prime Minister.
The PM has granted his Cabinet colleagues permission to campaign on opposite sides of the referendum – an unusual approach to government collective responsibility.