EU referendum: Boris Johnson says Thursday could become Britain's 'independence day'

The former Mayor of London took centre stage in a debate about the European Union on Tuesday

Jon Stone
Tuesday 21 June 2016 23:02 BST
Boris Johnson at the Wembley debate
Boris Johnson at the Wembley debate (BBC)

Boris Johnson has said June 23 would become Britain’s “independence day” if it votes to leave the European Union.

The former mayor of London made the comments at the end of a landmark BBC debate about the European Union at the Wembley arena in London.

Mr Johnson received loud cheers and a standing ovation from parts of the audience when he made the declaration after summing up his arguments.

Earlier in the debate the Tory MP came to blows with Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson – who said his evasive responses on whether Brexit would cost jobs were “not good enough”.

Mr Johnson, who is believed to harbor leadership ambitions for the Conservative party, took centre stage at the debate on Tuesday night.

“At the end of this campaign I think you'll agree there is a very clear choice between those on their side who speak of nothing but fear of the consequences of leaving the EU, and we on our side who offer hope,” he said.

“Between those who have been endlessly rubbishing our country and running it down, and those of us who believe in Britain.

“They say we can't do it, we say we can. They say we have no choice but to bow down to Brussels, we say they are woefully underestimating this country and what it can do.

“If we vote Leave we can take back control of our borders and huge sums of money, £10 billion a year net, our tax-raising powers, our trade policies and of our whole law-making decision - democracy, that is the foundation of our prosperity.

“And if we stand up for democracy we will be speaking up for hundreds of millions of people around Europe who agree with us but who currently have no voice.

“If we vote Leave and take back control I believe that this Thursday can be our country's independence day.”

Mr Johnson made the comments because some elements in the Leave campaign have claimed that being part of the trading bloc is akin to being integrated into a "superstate".

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan however branded the Leave campaign “project hate” because of its aggressive stance against immigrants.

The European Union referendum takes place this Thursday. The deadline to register to vote has already passed.

Additional reporting by PA

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